the Turkish surname, Antoine’s grandfathers were also Catholic and he
has spent all his life in Buca. He went to the old ‘Çakabey’
school in the 9 Çesme quarter. He knew Eduard
Balladur (born 1929) as a boy, and who was to become the president
of France (1993-95). Eduard goes to France when 16-17 to do his military
service and does not return. The father Dermond dies in Buca and his
daughter Fermond and son Reymond emigrate to Austria and France respectively.
The house is sold to a Turkish family from Afyon to the then currency
value of 125.000TL. This family living in this house for a few years
also ran a ground floor shop here by the name of ‘Bursa pazarı’ and
later leased it. The house next door on the corner was owned by the
‘Hacılar’ who were immigrants from the Drama region of Greece, and lived
here till the 1930s. The other vacant houses on the same street are
on the other side of the Balladur house,
Ali bey’s house from the Yalaz family, next to it again presently vacant
the inheritance of the children of Hüsamettin Balkanlı, across
the street from there the former residence of the English Mr Petter
and on the same side across the church, a house once lived by Turks,
used as a cafe in the 1990s, owned by a lawyer but gutted in a fire
2 years ago (1999). Many vacant Buca houses are exposed to fire, for
example suspicious fires wrecked the Balladur house again 2 years ago
and its neighbour the Hacılar house a year ago.
The house of Hüsamettin Balkanlı (next to the orphaned girls’ school)
was used as the local council house in 1920-25. For this reason the
old name of the street was Eski Belediye caddesi (old Council Street).
The council house was moved to Atadan (Uğur Mumcu) street from where
it was relocated 2 years ago.
The mother of Antoine, Helena Sanson was of Anglo Levantine background
and she is buried in the Pasaköprü cemetery. The grand-father
and father of Antoine both named Anthony (Sanson) were watchmen for
the British church. In their time both his father and Antoine himself
operated the bellows for the church organ played by the secretary of
the church, Miss Routh.
The neighbour to their house was in the past occupied by the English
Blackler family. Following the sale in 1950, the Italian George Falbo,
his wife Jacqueline [in reality Germaine, corrected in 2006 by grand-daughter
Germaine Ruddell] and their daughter Lena began to live there.
In 1980, Lena sells the house to the Turk named Nejdet bey, who still
Antoine remembers from his childhood days, the 3-4 monks still running
the monastery across their house that is currently an orphaned girls’
school. The grapes obtained from the vines of the monastery were carried
by camel to the Bornova Catholic church where it was converted to wine
and then shared to include the priests there. This seminary was closed
around 1935. He also remembers the chapel just inside the main building
that no longer exists. This building in turns becomes for short periods
a family residence, a government building and a military base.
The last resident priest of the still open St. John Catholic church,
Per Michel, dies in Italy around 1990. After this date services are
conducted by visiting priests. Over the years the numbers of the Buca
Catholic community has seriously declined. Today the total number is
around 20, derived from 5-6 families. For example the last representative
of the Missir family in Buca, Antoinette passed away 6 years ago and
the son of Dr. Raymond Aliberti, Maurice (last of the line) dies in
1986. The large house of Antoinette Missir is on Erdem street before
the 9 Çesme (Org. Cumhur Asparut) square with green shutters
and Dr. Aliberti’s house is also in the same area, next to the building
that is currently the architecture school.
Note: I later learned that Antoinette Missir (buried in the Karabağlar
cemetery) was the mother of Livio Missir, now resident in Belgium who
for many years has researched the genealogy of his family and has donated
a copy of his book, ‘The genealogy of the Missirs’ to the British Museum
One of the last English persons to live in Buca, Mrs (Rosa) Rees leaves
her mansion that currently serves as the educational faculty, in the
1950s. For a brief period in the 1940s the Whittall family lived in
the Forbes mansion. The Barker house situated near the Barff
house was at the time purchased by the Rivens’s but since partial
payment was made to the go-between, sister of the Barker wife, Mrs Barff,
it reverted to the state at the time of the Erbakan government (July
96-Nov 97), as having no deed holders. He remembers some of the family
relationships of the old British community. For example from the Rees
family, Mrs Rosa’s younger sister was married to Mr Guiffray and another
sister named Freida was married to the elder brother of Mr Barker.
Note: There is clear confusion
here as the ‘Whittall’ family tree show that Mrs Haydee Rees had no
The offices of the Rees shipping line still remain next to the [former]
coffee house across the old French customs house, Pasaport in Alsancak.
Note: The coffee house is only
remembered by the local old folk and locally nobody remembers the offices.
However the 3 storied, marble facade, neo-classical building in the
right spot (no:152 Körfez işhanı) has the letter ‘R’ both on the
wrought iron doors and in the centre of the coat-of-arms type wall stuccos
in plaster in all walls of the entrance hall.
Young Barker did not live in his own house but as a custodian in a house
across the Barff residence. The elder Barker lived in a mansion across
the Forbes house in the lower ground, amongst grape vines. This single
story, large fine house gets pulled down following the death of the
elder Barker in the 1940s and the Turkish custodian from Buca breaks
up the plot and sells them.
Note: Oswald Barker, church warden
for Buca, dies 1950/51 (1f-p.126a). It isn’t clear if he was the elder
or the younger.
The two Barker brothers, Mr Petter (one armed) and Mr Parkinson enjoyed
drinking in the former tennis club whose rough position is today marked
with the row of poplars growing along the Buca-Sirinyer road. In the
1950s with the departure of the English, the Frenchman Marcel Icard
begins to look after the tennis club and with his death around 1975,
the new custodian pulls the shack like building to run a lumber shop
for a while and later erects the block of flats that still exist today.
The American, Mr Parkinson was the manager of the Gary tobacco company.
All the Buca English could speak Greek fluently and would speak with
the father of Antoine in this language to give him painting and decorating
jobs. The house of the Parkinson’s was the green shuttered next to Çakabey
school and opposite the ironsmith. Following the death of Mr Parkinson,
his wife sells the house to Mr Missir and settles temporarily in England.
Later following her return she buys the former Mikaleff house and lives
there for 25-30 years until her death. Her son living in America (now
Canada) returns for her burial in Paşaköprü cemetery.
Note: From the London burial
registers we see Mr Harold Parkinson of Buca died aged 55 in 1951.
Motor cars never made an entry to Buca during Antoine’s youth and the
Levantines all had horse carts available for their trips.
Note: This is not quite true
as from the summer 1951 edition of ‘Candlesticks’ we are informed, ‘we
are grateful to Mr Petter for saving the church expense by lending his
car and chauffeur to convey the chaplain for Bornova for services, and
to bring Mdme Van der Rovaart and Mr and Mrs Barker to church at the
Currently and for the past 66 years Antoine has been living in the house
whose custodianship he is performing. Despite paying the property tax
for the past 50 years and with time effectively reconstructing the house,
since the title deed holders are considered as missing, he pays rent
equivalent to his pension to the national property office (milli emlak)
since 1996. Their status in their property is still not clear and in
2006 the house will revert to state ownership. Antoine moved to this
house in 1935 and even if one of the 4 their children, the Catholic Rikiki
(in correct Maltese spelling Richichi) family, is alive today in Italy
to where they emigrated, he should be 80-90 years of age. He knows of
5-10 other people in Buca in the same predicament and their protestations
to date have fallen on deaf ears.
Note: Unfortunately Mr Karakulak died peacefully in the spring of 2007.
interview date 2001