With a bit of searching you can find a treasure trove and handmade products in Istanbul.
Today’s Istanbul has shopping malls full of international brand name stores, and a Grand Bazaar where possibly the majority of goods sold are imported. However, you can still find small shops selling hand-made Turkish goods like the one run by Hayri Tortum in Eminönü.
Hayri specializes in wooden items and baskets and everything you see in the photo is made in Turkey. He does sell imported baskets because there is a demand, but they are inside the shop.
Hayri has run the shop for 25 years and says ‘my life has been spent in this shop’. We visited on the second day of Kurban Bayram when his was the only shop open in the street – he had given himself a day off the day before.
One item we were especially pleased to see on sale was an original coffee house chair. Until twenty years ago there were no plastic chairs in Turkey and this was the chair used in all the coffee houses and lokantas.
In 2005 we found these chairs on sale in Urfa in the south east of Turkey but were really amazed to find them being made and sold in Istanbul in 2010. And they are only 20TL each – now we just have to find a way to get them back to Fethiye.