Historic vintage films of Istanbul as Capital of the Ottoman Empire

Much of the earliest filmed material shoot during the last years of the Ottoman Empire has been lost. The founder of the Turkish Republic wanted to break up completely with the past of the leftovers of the Empire he inherited. The change of the alphabet from arabic to latin prevented the people to check their own past from the original sources.

History had to be rewritten, nihilating the exiled members of worlds longest reigning dynasty. The Ottomans, that was backwardness. To be a Turk was proclamed future. The rare footage related with the sultans als last Caliphs had little or no attention of the archives. The were merely concentrating on the heroic struggle of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his foundation of one of the best Republics ever founded in the history of the world. Consequently there is probably more Ottoman film in archieves outside Turkey now-a-day.

In Modern Media the Ottomans werent that backward at all. With the invention of photography three brothers from the Abdullah family in the Findik-district of Istanbul were appointed court photographers to Sultan Abdülaziz as early as 1862. A position they retained under Abdülhamid II.

The Abdullah brothers were active into the 1890's and photographed throughout the Ottoman Empire. Even more famous as the Abdullah Brothers was Vassilaki Kargopoulo. Kargopoulo was appointed Chief Photographer of the Ottoman Court in the late 1870s.

Indeed, portraits of His Imperial Majesty Sultan Abdülhamid II, along with the mosques and minarets proved popular fodder for late 19th-century photographers. The more so when all these wonders could be catched in moving pictures.


In 1895 Lumière introduced his Cinématograph. In 1896 the first film showing by Monseigneur Bertrand took place in the Yildiz Palace of Istanbul. News events were covered by all early film-makers. The intense Orientalism of the Ottoman Empire and the scenic splendors of Istanbul was a powerful inspirations for early western moviemakers. The Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II, himself was an icon in Ottoman imagery, was quite impressed.


In 1897, a year after the first recorded imperial film show at the Yildiz Palace, Sigmund Weinberg, a Rumenian from Poland, staged the first public (Pathé) filmshow in Istanbul. The showplace is Sponeck's beerhouse on Galatasaray's square in the Beyoglu district of Istanbul. Public shows by Sigmund Weinberger in the Sehzadebasi districts followed that same year.

As filmed on highly inflammable cellulose nitrate, most of those early moving pictures seem to be lost forever. Not only images of the Imperial Family, but also Ottoman celebrities as Zeybek, the 'booted Musled Dancer with his whip' and that everyday life in the old city and on the waters between Europe and Asia... That is why it is so important to collect and safe what rest of these Ottoman Films for coming generations. Please, support us in any possible way to fulfill this task.

In 1897 a fierce fire destroyed the cinema pavillion of a charity bazar in Paris, which took the lives of 124 people. Immediate search was opened for a replacement of the highly inflammable cellulose nitrate stock.


Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and his entourage are on Orientreise. October 18 1898 Theodor Herzl was received in audience by Wilhelm II in Istanbul. After Istanbul Der Kaiser visits Jerusalem, where a section of old city wall was removed to facilitate his Grand Entrance.

A fierce competition raged in the amateur film market. Economy and dimensions were the chief ingredients. The public had to be won over by relative inexpensiveness. Amateur film was usually cut from 35 mm professional raw stock , that was produced in large quantities and therefore economical to buy. The film was cut in two or three lengths - the substandard size, or "Schmalfilm" in Germany.

The first attempt was demonstrated in England by Birt Acres in 1898. His camera was a projector at the same time, the Birtac, It used 17½ mm size with perforations on one side.


A few months after the Birtac begin 1899 followed the Biokam, also in 17½mm, but perforations in the center between the images. It was not a success, mainly because of the proficiency needed to produce acceptable results. In the same year J.A.Prestwich introduced 13mm equipment, used in the oldes images filmed in Istanbul. Of Mr. J.A.Prestwichhis 13mm equipment little was heard of since.


During his visit in 1901, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany erected an elaborate temple-like fountain in Istanbul as a gift to the sultan and his people. It was inaugerated on 27 January 1901 in front of the Blue Mosque. Special postcards were issued as memory of the opening.


Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs, first (hand) coloured 'Orientalistic' feature film by Western moviemakers.

In the United States the first projector using non-standard film appeared around 1902. This home cinema used a carbide lamp. It was called the Vitak and used 17,5mm film. Some of the oldest Ottoman material was filmed in this Vitak-standard.


New Ottoman parliament is formed after the elections that followed the July 1908 revolution which ushered in the second constitutional period in Ottoman history. The Opening session of the National Assembly on 4th of December 1908, was such an occasion that postcards were sold with pictures of the members of the Assembly waiting for the arrival of His Majesty the Sultan.

On 19 March 1908 the first cinemahouse of Istanbul, Hilal, is opened by Cevat Boyer and Murat Bey on the Sehzadebasi Caddesi.

In France the establishment of the first newsreels: Pathe-Journal and Gaumont-Actualities in 1908. The newsreel was a novel concept. A newsreel was a reel of film, lasting originally around five minutes, that usually showed four or five stories illustrating the week's news.

In 1908 the first non-flam acetate film was marketed. It took decennia of perfection before it could supplant the old stock. Only in 1950 the tri-acetate film could be considered equal to nitrate film. However, for amateur films it was employed right after its invention.


On 30 January 1909, the minister of the interior for the new Ottoman government, Huseyin Hilmi Pasha, took the podium to answer an inquiry by a group of parliamentarians in the Chamber of Deputies. The parliament, formed after the elections that followed the July 1908 revolution, had been in session for barely six weeks. In accordance with the atmosphere of newly gained freedom of the press, newspapermen and other guests were observing the proceedings. Postcards sold with pictures of the Taksim Barracks after the fights on April the 24th, 1909.

Sultan Abdülhamid IISultan Abdülhamid was deposed and exiled just outside Salonica in the villa of the industrialists Alatini family. The former Sultan lived under strict house arrest. Abdülhamit is succeeded by his brother Mehmet V Reshad on 27 April 1909.

In 1909 there is a new filmhouse opened by Kemal Bey in Istanbul. First in a sousterrain in the Çavus Sokagi in the Sultanahmet area. When a fire destroys this cellar-based moviehouse, Kemal Bey moves to the open air near the Aya Sofya (Kabasakal Caddesi/Tevkifhane Sokagi). This 'Kabasakal Açik Hava' was the first open air cinema in Istanbul. But only for one summerseason, as the projector is moved later that same year to a house in the Akbiyik Degirmeni Sokagi (Küçük Ayasofya district). Here his cinema operates till 1914 under the name Akbiyik (White Moustache) and then moves to the Hündavedigar Caddesi, where it is renamed after its owner Kemal Bey Sinemasi.

In 1909 Elia Kazan, later known for his creative pioneering Hollywood direction, was born as Elia Kazanoglu in Istanbul. Elia would go to America and in the late 1940s and early 1950s helped blaze trails into the largely uncharted territories of social consciousness and cinematic naturalism, turning out some of the era's most memorable movies and influencing subsequent generations of filmmakers. He directed A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and received two best director Academy Awards, for the films Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954). He has written many films about immigrants, such as America, America (1963). These films are based on his novels. Kazan's autobiography, published in 1988, is entitled "Elia Kazan: A Life".


On 30 April 1910 filmhouse Anadolu opens in the Sakimsögüt Sokagi in the Cagaloglu area of Istanbul, two days later in the nearby Koskü Caddesi the Zeybek Cinema starts to operate.

In June 1910 the first British newsreel was issued, the weekly Pathe's Animated Gazette. Very soon rival newsreels were challenging Pathe. Warwick Bioscope Chronicle and Gaumont Graphic appeared later in 1910; Topical Budget began in 1911, and others followed in the years leading up to the First World War.

Ottoman Film Archive of MokumTVBritain and France's political and economic interests in the Middle East stimulated popular curiosity about the region in Europe. Ottoman commercial and domestic life, street-sellers, and the variety of scenic wonders became common place in the newsreeks, many of them superb in detail and atmosphere.


The Topical Budget silent newsreel first issued in September 1911.

The Imperial Visit to Kosovo was a great occasion to be filmed. Sultan Mehmet V left Istanbul on 5* June 1911 aboard the battleship Hayrettin Barbaros, and after a short stop in Çanakkale, anchored off the quay of Salonica in the morning of 8 June. The Sultan stayed aboard the battleship overnight. Within an hour of his arrival Reshat sends his secretary to go to the villa just outside Salonica, where his brother, the former Sultan Abdülhamit, lived under strict house arrest. The ex-Sultan asked for his son Abid to be allowed to study and to live in Istanbul and enquired after a bag full of jewelry which had disappeared when he was moved from the Yildiz palace to Salonica.
The next morning, the Sultan disembarked. Dressed in full military uniform, drove to the main government building (the Konak) in an open carriage.
On 9 June, the Sultan did the friday prayers in the Aya Sofya mosque of Salonica. On Saturday, June 10th, the Sultan received delegations, visit the army barracks, laid a foundation stone for a monument commemorating the constitutional revolution. In the afternoon, the Sultan attended a sema of the whirling derwishes in the Salonica headquarters of the Mevlana order, of which the Sultan was a devoted member. 11 June the Sultan takes the train to the capital of Kosovo province, Üsküp. Along the route during this seven hour journey three short stops were made in Karasulu Kimence, Gevgili and Köprülü (Velez). On his arrival in Üsküp, the Sultan was driven in a four horse carriage from the station to the government Konak, but was lodged in the arts and crafts school. Amnesty for all except convicted murderers was announced and 107 Albanians and 134 Bulgarians were released from Üsküp prison.
On 15 June the Sultan left Üsküp by train for Pritina, where he was awaited by some 200.000 people.
The next day the royal entourage left for a visit to the "Mehed-i Hüdavendigar", the tomb of Sultan Murad I near Pritina. His visit was attended by 300.000 people. Many more had wanted to come, but were stopped for fear of overcrowding. After the communal prayer in which the sultan took part, the ceremonies were ended with a military parade. The Sultan returned over Pritina and Üsküp to Salonica, where he changed trains for a visit of three and a half days to the garrison town Monastir. Then returned to Salonica and after a very short stop returned to Istanbul, where he was greeted by large and enthusiastic crowds.


By 1912 the newsreels had settled into apattern of two issues per week, The films were silent,with brief titles introducing each item, and matching the usual change of cinema programmes.

In 1912 Pathé introduced a 28mm size for safety film. The width deviated in order to prevent flammable normal sized film be used in the 28 mm Pathé Kok projector. The name was taken from from the newly patented logo of a cock and it was usually equipped with a dynamo. So it could be used on the not yet electrified countryside. At the same time 28mm cameras were marketed and initially the new size seemed to do well and was accepted as a standard size for the home cinema. In France the film had on the left side three perforations per frame and on the right side one. The single right side perforation was to make framing unnecessary.


In 1913 the short animation Mutt and Jeff in Constantinople, directed by Bud Fisher, was released in the USA.


Start of the First World War.

On November 14, 1914 Fuat Uzkinay, being at that time an Ottoman army officer, shoots the destruction of the Russian monument by the crowd . This 150 meter long documentary (Ayos Stefanos'taki Rus Abidesinin Yikilisi / The Demolition of the Russian Monument in St. Stephan) is considered to be the first Ottoman film.

The war hit the film industry hard, in Britian only the strongest of the newsreels survived: Pathe Gazette, Gaumont Graphic and Topical Budget. As imports of film from France into the USA came to a halt during the war, Victor USA introduced their own version of the 1912 Pathé Safety and Home Cinema projectors for 28mm films. But Victor films were perforated with three perforations per frame on both sides.


Enver Pasha, the Ottoman Minister of War, orders the foundation of the Ordu Sinema Dairesi Baskanligi, the Army film Center. Sigmund Weinberg, more than 16 years pioneer in the Ottoman film field, famous for his war documentaries and newsreels with the visits of foreign monarchs to the Sultan, is appointed as head, with Fuat Uzkinay as his assistant. Much must have been lost of those Weinberg & Fuat Ottoman Soldier Films. After filming great millitairy manouvres from every possible angle, Weinberg succeeds in convincing Enver Pasha to start producing feature films to amuse the Ottoman Army in this dark times.

In the Istanbul Cagaloglu area Filmhouse Anadolu moves from the Sakimsögüt Sokagi to the Alemdar Caddesi and is later renamed in Alemdar Sinema.

Messter - Wocheschau 0 Min. 21 Sek. Türkei, S.M. der Sultan begrüßt seine Minister nach einer Inspizierung. GO TO ITEM

Wed 21 Apr 1915 Topical Budget Issue No: 191
Title Sultan of Turkey: "The Sultan accompanied by the Grand Vizier and all the Ministers leaving the Palace after a war council." Elderly dignitaries laden with decorations enter open carriages and are driven off one by one. Length of item (in feet) 57. GO TO ITEM

Sat 22 May 1915 Topical Budget Issue No: 195-2
Title Turkish Troops: The Sultan of Turkey inspects his troops before they go to the Front. Length of item (in feet) 51 GO TO ITEM

07 Oct 1915 Gaumont Graphic Issue No: 474
Title Ferdinand, Self Styled Tsar of the Bulgarians Item No 3/6 Summary Views in Bulgaria. Length of item (in feet) 40 GO TO ITEM


21 Feb 1916 Gaumont Graphic Issue No: 513
Title Victors of Erzerum Item No 3/5 Summary Grand Duke Nicholas arrives at Front Line (Russia / Turkey). Length of item (in feet) 43 GO TO ITEM

May 16 1916: The British and French Governments sign secret Sykes-Picot Agreement dividing Arab provinces of Ottoman Empire into French and British administered areas.

June 10 1916: On the basis of his correspondence with McMahon Sherif Hussein proclaims Arab independence from Ottoman rule. Arab revolt against Constantinople begins and on Oct. 2 Sherif Hussein proclaimed to be the "King of the Arab Countries".


Weinberg's first attempt to registrate a feature film in Istanbul is an adaptation of a popular stage play, Leblebici Horhor. After a while one of the leading actors dies and the shooting has to be stoped.
A second film, Himmet Aga'nin Izdivaci (The Marriage of Master Himmet), encounters a similar end, when most of the actors are recruited and die during the war of the Dardanelles.


18 Jun 1917 Gaumont Graphic Issue No: 651
Title Exiles from Greece Item No 1/6 Summary King Constantine and Queen Sophia after attending open air service to commemorate capture of Salonika. Members of Royal family in background. King inspects Greek troops. Filmed in Greece in 1916. Length of item (in feet) 40

14 Nov 1917 War Office Official Topical Budget Issue No: 325-1
Title Obsequies of a Sultan Item No 4/5 Summary: "Magnificent scenes of Eastern splendour marked the funeral of Britain's staunch friend Hussein I, the late Sultan of Egypt." View down at approaching funeral procession, including draped coffin. Credits JEAPES, Harold Camera

15 December 1917 Crownprice (Veliaht) Vahdettin, the later Sultan Mehmet VI and Mustafa Kemal (the later Atatürk) leave for a visit to Germany: Nach seiner Rückkehr lud Kaiser Wilhelm II. Sultan Mehmet Resad nach Berlin ein, den deutschen Kriegsfronten einen Besuch abzustatten. Da der 73-jährige Sultan kränkelte, schickte er an seiner Stelle seinen Thronfolger Mehmed Vahdeddin. Zu der Delegation, die vom 19. -31. Dezember 1917 Deutschland besuchte, gehörte als Vertreter der türkischen Armee auch General Mustafa Kemal Pascha (Atatürk).

With both films of Weinberg unfinished, in 1917 the two first feature films of the Ottoman cinema are made: Pençe (The Claw) and Casus (The Spy). Both directed and produced by a 20 years old journalist, Sedat Simavi.

To the "Ottoman Army film Center" of Sigmund Weinberg, a further military office, "Müdafaa-i Milliye Cemiyeti" (The Association for National Defence), gets involved into film production. Here Weinbergs assistant Fuat Uzkinay is put at the head of department.

In England Topical Budget Newsreel is taken over by the British War Office in 1917 to run on propagandist lines as an outlet for official warfilm, changing its name to the War Office Official Topical Budget Newsreel, and later the Official Pictorial News.


10 February 1918: Death Sultan Abdülhamid II in Istanbul.

April 1918 The Zeybek Filmhouse on the Koskü Caddesi is renamed Düks Sinema.

May 16- 24 1918: Last Habsburger emperor Kaiser Karl (1887–1922) and Kaiserin Zita de Bourbon (1892–1989) visit Sophia and
Istanbul. In Istanbul they where were recieved by Sultan Mehmet V. Karl vainly tried to save the Austro-Hungarian monarchy by proclaiming on October 16, 1918 an Austrian federative state. Hungary and Czechoslovakia declared their independence, and Karl abdicated as emperor of Austria on Nov. 11 and as king of Hungary on Nov. 13 and went into exile. Karl I was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 2004.

3 July 1918: Death Sultan Mehmet V Resat in Istanbul.

4 July 1918: Crowning last Ottoman Sultan Mehmed VI Vahdeddin filmed by Fuat Uzkinay in the Topkapi Palace.

Pictorial News (Official) / War Office Official Topical Budget Issue No: 372-2 Released: Mon 14 Oct 1918 3 Items
Troops of King of Medjad Subdue the Turkish Hordes
Suntitle: "Ottoman prisoners captured by the Arabs."
JEAPES, Harold, Camera

The Ottoman Empire was defeated and the armistice was signed with the British on October 30, 1918. The Allied forces occupied Istanbul. The British Rear Admiral Sir Somerset Arthur Gough Calthrope, the signatory of the armistice for the U.K., was appointed the British High Commissioner of Istanbul.

1918 After the end of World War I Fuat Uzkinay, substituting Weinberg at the head of the "Army Film Center", complete Himmet Aga'nin Izdivaci.

By 1918 10.000 Pathé Kok projectors were sold. The projector enjoyed quite some popularity. In the United States 28mm was accepted as a standard size for portable film projectors by the Society of Motion Picture Engineers. 935 Titles were for rent.


Jan. 1919: Versailles Peace Conference decides that the occupied Arab provinces will not be restored to Ottoman rule.

19 May 1919 Start of the Turkish War of Independence (Kurtulus Savasi).

1919- Only two feature films are produced in Istanbul during this year: Mürebbiye (The Governess) and Binnaz. Both are directed by the 62 years old Ahmet Fehim, a leading figure in the foundation of the Turkish theater, and the male cast is composed by such stage actors as Rasit Riza Samako, Behzat Butak and Hüseyin Kemal Gürmen while the female leads are played by Mme. Kalitea, Eliza Binemeciyan and Bayzar Fasulyeciyan.


25 Mar 1920 Pathe Gazette Issue No: 653:
Title The Problem of Turkey Item No 4/7 Summary: 1. GV exterior Mohammed Ali who is head of the Indian Khilafat delegation. [11 ft] 2. GV Mohammed Ali leaving the mosque. [18 ft] 3. CU Mohammed Ali. [7 ft] GO TO ITEM

Thu 25 Mar 1920 Topical Budget Issue No: 448:
Title Constantinople for the Turks Item No 3/6 Summary: "At Woking Mosque Mahomed Ali, leader of Khalifate deputation, defies Allies to crush Moslems." GO TO ITEM

22 Apr 1920 Topical Budget Issue No: 452: 7 Item
Title Sultan of Turkey in His Palace at Constantinople Item No 5/7 Summary: "This is the first time in history that a Monarch of the Ottoman Empire has ever posed for the film." GO TO ITEM

On 10 August 1920 The Treaty of Sèvres is signed by the representatives of the Ottoman Government and the Entente and Associated Powers in Sèvres, near Paris. The treaty had four signatories on behalf of the Ottoman government but was an unestablished agreement in the absence of the Ottoman Parliament, which was forced to close after the session at February 12, 1920 and abolished on March 18 that same year. In the absence of the Parliament, it was not sent to the sultan Mehmed VI Vahdeddin to be ratified, or published in the Takvim-I Vakayi (official newspaper).

26 Aug 1920 Gaumont Graphic Issue No: 984: 5 Item
Title Traffic Problems. Members of the Carl Rosa Opera Co. Find Motor Charabancs the Cheapest But ... Turkish Refugees Use the Railway (4th Class). Some of the Bridges are So Low, Many Passengers are Injured. Length of item (in feet) 80 GO TO ITEM


24 Feb 1921 Pathe Gazette Issue No: 749 7 Item
Title The Meeting of the Nations Item No 4/7 Summary
Mr Lloyd George, Lord Curzon, Mr Briand and Count Sforza meet Greek and Turkish delegates to settle problem on the near East. Place St James's Palace. GO TO ITEM

1921- Sadi Fikret Karagözoglu, a top comedian of the period, brings to the Ottoman screen, with Bican Efendi Vekilharç (Mister Bican, Secretary) the first comic character. Karagözoglu directs two more adventures of his hero, Rican Efendi Mektep Hocasi (Mister Bican, School- master) and Bican Efendi'nin Rüyasi (Mister Bican's Dream), playing also the leading part.

Even in Black and White and Silent works dealing with Orientalistic themes were in High Demand in Europe and the USA. In 1921 the release of a silent movie with Rudolph Valentino as a wealthy and powerful sheik proved extremely popular with female movie goers in the Western World. The film Sheik established Valentino as the top male movie star and sex symbol and resulted in a new slang term "sheik," meaning a man who woos women aggressively.
Valentiono quote: "Women are not in love with me but with the picture of me on the screen. I am merely the canvas on which women paint their dreams."
"Sheik" brand condoms, introduced onto the market in the 1930's, were named after Valentino's most famous role and for years featured Valentino's silhouette on the packaging.


21 Sep 1922 Gaumont Graphic Issue No: 1200: 6 Item
Title Near East Crisis. Scenes in the Port of Constantinople the Gateway of the Black Sea Item No 6/6 Summary Ships in docks. (Flashbacks from old films - library numbers unknown). Length of item (in feet) 55 GO TO ITEM

21 Sep 1922 Daily Sketch Topical Budget Issue No: 578: 5 Item
Title Who Said There Was 'A New War'? Summary British troops stationed at Constantinople during Greco-Turkish hostilities. Length of item (in feet) 52 GO TO ITEM

October 1922 Düks Sinema (former Zeybek Filmhouse) moves from the Koskü Caddesi to the Dua Tepe Sokagi in Kadikoy.

16 Oct 1922 Pathe Gazette Issue No: 920
Title Near East Peace Pact Signed at Constantinople Item No 4/8 Summary
General Sir Charles Harrington. GO TO ITEM

1 November 1922: Sultanate abolished, last Sultan Mehmet VI fled to Malta.

19 November 1922: Abdülmecit II announced the 101st and last Caliph of Islam.

23 Nov 1922 Pathe Gazette Issue No: 931
Title Scenes from Turkey Item No 5/6

1922 Kemal Film of the brothers Kemal and Sakir Seden (or Seded) form the first feature film production company in Istanbul. In 1922 their major documentary film is "Independence, the Izmir Victory," made about the first war of Independence.

In 1922 Sté Gallus introduced a projector, the Cinebloc, using the same size of film in a different manner. It used double-sided perforated 22mm Ozaphan cellophane film. Of the Cinebloc little was heard of since.

The newsreels became widely popular in the 1920s. No cinema programme was complete without its newsreel, and audiences saw on the screen the heroes and heroines, fads andfashions, disasters and triumphs of the era. Pathe, Gaumont and Topical remained dominant. In 1922 Pope Benedict dies, Pope Pius re-elected and the Turkey war peril are the main interntional events.

1922 Muhsin Ertugrul, who had worked as an actor and director in the German cinema from 1916, returning in Turkey. Muhsin Ertugrul, relying on his filmic experiences abroad, directs two features for "Kemal Film": Istanbul'da Bir Facia-i Ask (A Love Tragedy in Istanbul) and Bogaziçi Esrari / Nur Baba (The Mystery of the Strait of Istanbul / Father Nur). Bogaziçi Esrari / Nur Baba causes some incidents: adapted from a novel by Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoglu it attracts the attention of the religious sect known as the "Bektasi". Thinking that the production is aimed against their teachings the Bektasi's raid the studio, while shooting is in progress. The police has to protect the crew, the leading actor flies in panic and refuses to resume his work and so on. But, in the end, the film is finally completed.


04 Jan 1923 Daily Sketch Topical Budget Issue No: 593-1
Title 'British Ordered to Leave Constantinople' Item No 6/7 Summary: "But in spite of vast demonstrations here are some Britishers who won't!." British troops stationed at Constantinople. Length of item (in feet) 40 GO TO ITEM

15 Mar 1923 Pathe Gazette Issue No: 963
Title Sultan of Turkey Flees Item No 2/10 GO TO ITEM

24 July 1923 The Treaty of Lausanne delimited the boundaries of Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey, formally ceded all Turkish claims on Cyprus, Iraq and Syria, and (along with the Treaty of Ankara) settled the boundaries of the latter two nations. The treaty also led to the international recognization of the sovereignty of the new Republic of Turkey as the successor state of the Ottoman Empire.

09 Sep 1923 Pathe Gazette Issue No: 1024
Title General Charles Harrington Item No 4/5 Summary C in C of British forces in Constantinople. Place Southampton GO TO ITEM

29 October 1923 Declaration of the Turkish Republic.

1923 Muhsin Ertugrul starts his career with the first film following the proclamation of the Republic with the production of Atesten Gömlek (The shirt of fire), adapted from the novel by Halide Edip Adivar and set during the years of the Turkish War of Independence. Two Turkish actresses, Bedia Muvahhit and Neyyire Neyir, appears in front of the camera. During that year Muhsin Ertugrul directs also Leblebici Horhor and Kiz Kulesinde Bir Facia (A Tragedy at Kiz Kule). The influence of the theater dating back to Uzkinay, Simavi, Ahmet Fehim and Karagozoglu is very strong in Muhsin Ertugrul's work.

27 Dec 1923 Topical Budget Issue No: 644-1
Title Peeps at the Past Item No 1/1 Summary [1ST SUBTITLE]: "A Pageant of Events filmed by 'Topical's' Cameramen the World over in 1923." [Opening titles superimposed over revolving globe] [2ND SUBTITLE]: "Presented to all 'Topical's' patrons with best wishes for their health and prosperity in 1924. January. British refuse to leave Constantinople". Large crowd in Constantinople square. Naval ratings marching down street. [5TH SUBTITLE]: "February. Tut-Ankh-Amen. Tomb of the great King yeilds [sic] up its treasures". [Section missing] [17TH SUBTITLE]: "September. Peace with Turkey; Troops Return". British troops looking over deck of ship at camera. Troops coming down gangplank. On quayside with kit bags. Length of item (in feet) 334 GO TO ITEM


3 March 1924: Caliphate of Abdülmecit II ended by Atatürk. Last Caliph fled Turkey.

10 Mar 1924 Topical Budget Issue No: 654-2
Title Pope of 60,000,000 Moslems Deposed Item No 2/3 Summary Turks celebrate as Caliph Abdul-Medjid II is forced to leave Constantinople. Length of item (in feet) 47 GO TO ITEM

1924- The brothers, Ipekçi start a ring of movie theaters. Muhsin Ertugrul directs only one movie and after completing Sözde Kizlar (The Would be Girls), adapted from a novel by Peyami Safa.


Muhsin Ertugrul goes to Russia in 1925 to continue his cinematographical works.


15 May 1926 The 36th and last Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and also the 100th Caliph of Islam Mehmet VI Vahdeddin died in San Remo, Italy. He was 65 years when he died and reigned from 1918–1922. Mehmet VI was in debt and his coffin confiscated. At last the coffin was claimed by the president of Syria and buried near the mosque of Sultan Selim I in Damascus. The graveyard where he was burried became a park. Today we do not know where his grave is. Italian and other Newsreels about his death from May 16, 1926 onwards.

01 Nov 1926 Pathe Gazette Issue No: 1342
Title Ancient Religious Ban Item No 5/8 Summary on "graven images" ends, as first statue (to Gazi Pasha) to be erected in Turkey, is unveiled at Saray Burnu in Istanbul.

1926 In the USA Rudolph Valentino as aggressive sex symbol released the sequel of The Sheik, The Son of the Sheik, that was equally successful. A fourth newsreel, Empire News Bulletin, starts in 1926.

1926 Muhsin Ertugrul returned to Turkey from Russia, starts directing the first feature of "Ipek Film", Ankara Postasi (The Courier from Ankara), to be completed the following year.


1928 The brothers, Ipekçi who, in 1924, had started a ring of movie theaters enters feature production with a new company, "Ipek Film", thus founding the second private film producing venture of the Turkish cinema.


1929 Another feature, also signed by Muhsin Ertugrul, and titled Kaçakçilar (The Smugglers) has to be interrupted when one of the leading actors dies in a car crash. Kaçakçilar is thus completed in 1929. In June 1929 the first British sound newsreel, British Movietone News, began life. The parent company, Fox, was American, the signal of a significant change in ownership-bias from the French companies that had originally supported British newsfilming in the silent era. The changeover to sound was a gradual process for Britishcinemas, and Pathe, Gaumont and Empire all issued silent as well as sound reels for a few years. Pathe issued silent and sound versions of its Gazette; Gaumont issued the silent Gaumont Graphic and Gaumont Sound News, and Empire News Bulletin ran alongsideits sound counterpart, Universal Talking News.


The British Topical Budget reel faded out in 1931, but a new major sound newsreel, British Paramount News, appeared at the same time. Both Universal and Paramount were ultimately controlled by the giant American corporations. Not until the mid-1930s that the familiar newsreel style became established, with authoritative commentator and upbeat musical accompaniment.


1932 First commercial talking film produced in Turkey. From this year up to 1941 Ipek Films (Ipekci Brothers) monopolizes Turkish film production.


Death of Atatürk. On November 10, 1938 the man who finished the Ottoman Empire and exiled the last Caliph died at five past nine in the morning. We see the native of Salonika (Thessaloniki in Greece) on his deathbed in the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul and the weeping crowds that came for over a week to pay their last respect. Also we see the impressive funeral procession of November 19, when the coffin was taken to Sarayburnu from where it was taken onto the battleship Yavuz so that it could be transported to Izmit. From there Atatürk’s coffin was placed on a specially designated train which travelled at a slow speed throughout the country on its way to Ankara where the coffin arrived on November 20 and a day later the official funeral was held in the inner court of the Ethnographical Museum, the place converted to a temporary grave. On 10 November 1953 Atatürk was transferred to the Anitkabir mausoleum.


23 August 1944: On the day that Paris is liberated from German Occupation Caliph Abdülmecit II dies in Paris. End of the Ottoman Era.

Richard Wessell Reads The BBC News Of The Liberation Of Paris - French and German Newsreels about his death and funeral.

By Mohamed el-Fers for Türkevi


The Ottoman Film Archive of MokumTV wants to research, investigation, collect and made public films concerning the era of the Ottoman Empire.

Kaiser visits Sultan
1 min 19 sec.

Wilhem II embarking in front of the Dolmabahçe Palace to visit Sultan Mehmet V Resat and Crownprince Vahdeddin

Mehmed V Reshad
2 min 25 sec

Sultan Mehmet V Resat filmed just before his death on 3 July 1918.

Mehmed VI Vahdeddin
2 min

The crowning on the last Ottoman Sultan on 4 July 1918 filmed by Fuat Uzkinay in the Topkapi Palace.

Old Istanbul
3 min 53 sec

The capital of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Mehter in Holland
5 min 07 sec

See the Imperial Ottoman Mehter playing in front of the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

First statue Atatürk
33 sec.

Today there are more statues of Atataürk than of the Holy Virgin Mary, but the very first one was erected in 1926 at Sarayburnu in Istanbul.

Death Atatürk 1938
- YouTube Mirror

Trailler OttoMan Film

Base of the Ottoman Film Archive is the collection that Mohamed el-Fers gathered since 1982 for MokumTV of Amsterdam.

Digital and Internet technologies give us now for the first time in history to collect and safe these Ottoman Films for coming generations.

Without having funds, as unpaid voluntaries who are well aware that some of the rare and unique moving immages will probably be lost , MokumTV, in corporation with Türkevi of The Netherlands made a begin with the restoration and digitalisation of these collected filmfragments of one of the greatest empires in World History.

Mohamed el-Fers: If no direct action is undertaken, the Ottoman material will completely vanishe. A threat to such cultural material as these old films is that it can be difficult to establish who owns the rights to these films. Sometimes this is even impossible when the company that once owned its right had gone out of business. Essential is that this rare material can't wait to be conserved. Once conserved these films can be digital restorated by MokumTV.

Sharing is the only way not loosing these rare and unique moving pictures of the Ottoman Era forever.
Veyis Güngör
Dutch President of the UETD
(Avrupali Türk Demokratlar Birligi)

Osmaans Archief NL

The Ottoman Film Archive in Amsterdam Holland is housed at the Túrkevi office.

Propaanweg 3
1041 AG Amsterdam
tel. 020 6845712
Mail: info@turkevi.nl

Osmaans Film Archief

Sinds 1982 verzamelde Mohamed el-Fers voor de uitzendingen van MokumTV historische fimopnamen uit de periode van het Osmaanse Keizerrijk. In 2006 werd door MokumTV en Türkevi Amsterdam een begin gemaakt met de restauratie en digitalisatie van deze oude filmfragmenten. Doel is het behoud vsn deze belangwekkende beelden. Ze zonder winstoogmerk te conseveren voor het nageslacht en ze wereldwijd toegankelijk te maken via internet.

 Osmaans Archief TC

Het Osmaans Archief van de Turkse Staat is van maandag tot en met vrijdag van 9:00 tot 17:00 uur geopend en op zaterdag van 8:30 tot 16:00 uur.

Osmanli Arsivi Daire Baskanligi
Ticarethane Sokak 12
34410 Sultanahmet
tel: (0212) 513 88 70-72
fax: (0212) 511 75 86

Het Turks Staatstarchief is gespecialiseert in documentatie inz. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk en zijn opvolgers. Dit archief verhuisde van Istanbul naar Ankara en is van maandag tot en met vrijdag van 9:00 tot 17:00 uur geopend.

Adres: Devlet Arsivleri
Ivedik Caddesi 59
06180 Yenimahalle
Ankara - Turkije
tel: (0312) 344 59 09
fax: (0312) 315 10 00

En de overige archieven van belang voor het onderzoek naar Osmaans materiaal buiten Turkije.


Wochenschau archiv Germany

British Pathe

British Film Insitute

Newsreel Archives

Tropical Budget Reel

National Film Archives

German Film Archive

French Film Archive



Australian War

Brittish fil Institute

UK .filmeducation


Indisch Filmarchief


History of filmsize



Sultan Abdülhamid II (1842 - 1918) volgde in 1876 zijn broer Murat V op en was de eerste Osmaanse keizer die op film werd vastgelegd. De eerste filmvertoning had in 1896 plaats in het Yildiz Paleis te Istanbul. Een jaar later, 1897, organiseert Sigmund Weinberg, Roemeens staatsburger van Poolse origine de eerste publieke fimvertoningen in Istanbul in Sponeck's bierhuis aan het Galatasaray Plein in Beyoglu. Meer voorstellingen organiseert Weinberger datzelfde jaar in het Sehzadebasi district.

In 1908 voerden de Jong-Turken met succes een staatsgreep uit. Na een mislukte contrarevolutionaire staatsgreep in 1909 besloot de Nationale Vergadering Sultan Abdülhamid II af te zetten en te verbannen naar Saloniki in Griekenland. Later werd Sultan Abdülhamid II in Istanbul geïnterneerd, waar hij op 10 februari 1918 overleed.

Abdülhamid II werd opgevolgd door zijn broer Mehmet V Resat (2 november 1844 – 3 juli 1918).Tijdens het bewind van Mehmet V hadden verschillende oorlogen plaats. In de Libische Oorlog veroverde de Italianen Libië. Aan deze oorlog namen zowel Enver Pasha als Mustafa Kemal Atatürk als militairen deel. In de Balkanoorlogen werden de Europese landen, die in het bezit van de Ottomanen waren, onafhankelijk. De laatste nadelige oorlog was de Eerste Wereldoorlog, die het begin van het einde van de Ottomaanse dynastie in luidde. Hij werd opgevolgd door zijn broer Mehmet VI Vahideddin (1861-1926), de 36e en allerlaatste Sultan van het Osmaanse Rijk. Hij was nog maar amper aan de macht toen de westerse Geallieerde troepen belangrijke delen van het Osmaanse Rijk bezetten en ook Istanbul binnenrukten. Mehmet VI sloot in 1920 het Verdrag van Sèvres, maar dat werd nooit in de praktijk gebracht. Wanneer op 1 november 1922 het sultanaat wordt afgeschaft door Atatürk, vluchtte Mehmet naar Malta. Later verhuisde hij naar San Remo, in Italië, waar hij in 1926 overleed. Meer over de kaatste Osmaanse Sultan-Kalief op Wikipedia.
Abdülmecit II (29 mei 1868-23 augustus 1944), was door Atatürk op 19 november 1922 benoemd als 'opvolger' van Mehmet VI Vahideddin. Als Kalief (en niet als Sultan, aangezien Atatürk zelf staatshoofd was geworden). Abdülmecit II had dus louter een godsdienstige functie. Abdülmecit II 'regeerde' tot 3 maart 1924 en was de laatste Kalief in een lijn die was begonnen bij Abu Bakr in 632. Na zijn aftreden werd ook hij, net als zijn neef, gedwongen samen met zijn familie Turkije te verlaten. Hij stierf in 1944 in Parijs.

Toen Eadweard Muybridge in 1877 met meerdere in een rij opgestelde fotocamera’s de bewegingen van een paard registreerde, was de fundatie van de cinematografie gelegd. In 1889 vonden Thomas Edison en William Dickson een nieuw toestel uit met een ononderbroken transparante negatieffilmstrook met afzonderlijke beelden. Als deze beelden kort belicht werden, kreeg de toeschouwer de indruk dat hij bewegende beelden zag. Antoine Lumière zag op een demonstratie van de kinetoscoop in Parijs meteen het nut ervan in. Zijn zonen Louis en Auguste bouwden begin februari 1895 hun eigen versie van de kinetoscoop, de cinematograaf, een projector.

Nadat de ontwikkeling van de cinematograaf voltooid was, concentreerden ze zich op de meer commercieel georiënteerde ontwikkelingen van de filmkunst. In de eerste maanden van 1896 werden er in Londen, Brussel en New York theaters geopend met als uitsluitende functie het draaien van films.

De eerste op celluloid gemaakte film was waarschijnlijk 'Roundhay Garden Scene' van Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince in 1888. Andere vroege films zijn 'Strongman Sandow' van Thomas Edison (1890) en 'La Sortie des Usines Lumière' van de Gebroeders Lumière uit 1895. Film werd in eerste instantie vooral gebruikt voor de registraties van gebeurtenissen. Het Australische 'Soldiers of the Cross' uit 1900 wordt beschouwd als de eerste niet documentaire film. De eerste lange film was de Australische film The Story of the Kelly Gang uit 1906. Helaas zijn van de ongeveer 70 minuten film slechts 9 minuten bewaard gebleven. Al rond de eeuwwisseling werden films ingekleurd, zoals bijvoorbeeld gebeurde bij 'Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs' uit 1902.



The Ottoman Archives of MokumTV

As the Ottoman Archives of MokumTV first concern are the images of the Ottoman era in collections outside Turkey.

A threat to the availability of cultural material such as old films in Europe and the US of A is that it can be difficult or impossible to establish who owns the rights to a work if the company that once owned it had gone out of business. Digital and Internet technologies have the potential to collect and safe these works for coming generations. If not, these films will be lost forever.

See also the Free Net Project.

Inside Turkey

In Turkey the State Film Archives were established in the 1960s. The Turkish State Film Archives became the Turkish Film Archives in 1969. During the same period, the Cinema-TV Institute was founded and annexed to the State Academy of Fine Arts. The Turkish State Archives also became part of this organization. In 1962, the Cinema-TV Institute became a department of Mimar Sinan University.

On January 23, 1986, a new cinema law aimed to ensure support for those working in cinema and music. A reorganization of the film industry began in 1987 to address problems and assure its development. The Ministry of Culture established the "Professional Union of Owners of Turkish Works of Cinema" the same year.

The "Copyrights and General Directorate of Cinema" was founded in 1989 as well as a "Support Fund for the Cinema and Musical Arts". This fund is used to provide financial support to the film sector.

Turkish Organizations Connected to the Cinema Sector

SESAM -- Professional Union of Film Producers, Importers, Cinema-owners
FIYAP -- Association of Film Producers
SODER -- Cinema Actors' Association
FILM YON -- Film Directors' Union
SINEKAM-DER -- Association of Cameramen, Set Workers, Technical Assistants and studio workers
Istanbul Chamber of Commerce, Film Makers' Professional Committee of Film Producers, Importers, Cinema Owners and Video Distributors.

Photographers of Constantinople

If interested in vintage pictures of Istanbul, see "The Photographers of Constantinople" by Bahattin Oztuncay. Two Volumes. Published by Aygaz A.S., Istanbul, December 2003; ISBN Nos. 975-296-052-9; 975-296-053-7; ISBN Set No. 975-296-051-0. 735 pages; no price indicated.

Istanbul editie 2007

Titel: Mohamed el-Fers - Istanbul - De Gids
Oorspr. titel: Mohamed el-Fers Istanbul
ISBN 90-77814-05-1 (2006)
ISBN 978-90-77814-05-5 (2007)
Bookland EAN: 9789077814055
Titel: Istanbul, de gids
Auteur: el-Fers, M.
Uitgever: Türkevi/Mohamed el-Fers
Copyright: © 2011 by Mohamed el-Fers. All rights reserved.
NUR-code: 512
NUR-omschrijving: Reisgidsen Europa
Aantal pagina's: 291
Verschijningsvorm: Boek
Bindwijze: Ingenaaid
Edition: 2011
Printed in Turkey
Prijs: € 23.95
Internet verkoop via: www.lulu.com/mokumtv

Classic Pocket Size, 4.25" x 6.875" (10.8cm x 17.46cm)

Veyis Güngör van Türkevi: 'Het boek heeft onder de Turkije-reizigers een ware cultstatus verworven. Een generatie Istanbulgangers heeft er deze fascinerende stad beter door leren kennen. De Stadsgids Istanbul is meer dan een praktische wegwijzer of de insider-gids die van de platgetreden paden wijkt. Türkevi Amsterdam is er trots op dat er in nauwe samenwerking met de auteur een geheel gereviseerde en uitgebreide back-to-basic-editie zal worden uitgebracht. In het klassieke pocketformaat, dus ideaal om mee op zak te nemen. Turkevi zal het boek op de eerste plaats via de balie van in Turkije Reizen gespecialiseerde reisorganisaties verspreiden. Güngör: 'Juist daar is de behoefte aan een goed en goedkoop reisboek het grootst, in deze tijd van last minute reizen.'

Some other books Mohamed el-Fers published:

  • Mehmed VI, biografie laatste Osmaanse sultan (1991) ISBN 90-5330-023-6
  • Mevlânâ (1992) ISBN 90-5330-049-X
  • Jacques Brel (1994, 1996 en 1998) ISBN 90-5330-245-X / ISBN 90-5312-113-7
  • Oum Kalsoum (1991) ISBN 90-5330-037-6
  • Columbus (1991) ISBN 90-5330-032-5
  • Bob Marley (1991) ISBN 90-5330-015-5

and some films by Mohamed el-Fers on DVD:

  • Mevlana (Hypnotic Trance Dance, complete ritual) DVD TM 04-1
  • Oil over Europe-I (Turkish Oil Wrestling) DVD TM 04-2
  • Mehter in Holland (Ritual Music by the Janisari) DVD TM 04-3
  • Maria in de Koran (bonus: Mirakel van Amsterdam, Ida Peerdeman interview) DVD TM 04-4


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