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  • Writer's pictureYaman

Halit Refiğ & Bay Refik's Seaside House

Halit Refig (March 5, 1934 - 11 October 2009), is not only one of the greatest directors raised in Turkey, Burgaz Island was declared one of the most beautiful place in the world to live. You will find following topics in this review; Halit Refiğ's love for his wife Gülper Hanım, his grandfather house Bay Refik's seaside house (shown as an example Turkish House in the book of Sedad Hakkı Eldem) sold, the mansion of his aunts Hüsnü Uzunoğlu burning in the fire of 2003, the chestnut trees he planted after the fire, the change on the island, its return to the island, and the story of a shelved movie project Elveda Burgaz (meaning Farewell Burgaz).

Note: The thoughts and findings quoted in this article completely reflect the author's own opinion.

Halit Refiğ - Love and Death Scenarios

On September 20, 2008, Halit Refiğ's book titled "Love and Death Scenarios" dedicated to "The love of Robert Schild and his wife Meri as the beginning of our Burgaz friendship".

The childhood memories that made the deepest impact on me were the summer days I spent on Burgaz Island. My grandfather had a wooden mansion near the ferry port. As family members found the opportunity to leave Istanbul, they shared the rooms of this mansion. It would be a different excitement for me to go to the island by ferry. I knew all the ferries of those years, I would collect the pictures. In fact, because of my interest, being the captain was one of my first job dreams. The sea was sparkling clean, with various colors and fish in it. Lapina, ginning, goby, rooster, silverfish, garfish, seahorse, dragonya and many more ... None of this exists today anymore.

In the years when the Second World War began, there was not much change in life in Burgaz. In Europe, later in Asia, the fire was surrounded by blood, while the blood was carrying the body, while in Burgaz, Muslims, Christians and Jews continued to live together in peace. Inheritance issues that occurred after my grandfather's death during the war years, domestic disputes led to the sale of the mansion in Burgaz. Despite this, my interest in Burgaz was not completely lost. My aunts also had a mansion in Burgaz. We were very close to each other with the aunt's sons. I would go to them from time to time.

Years passed, I had the opportunity to see many parts of the world. But Burgaz's place in my heart has never changed. Fortunately, my husband Gülper also loved Burgaz when he knew him. For many years since 1980, we spent the summers on a floor in my aunt's mansion mansion. But dramatic changes occurred in Burgaz in the 80s. The sea became more and more polluted, fish disappeared, and swimming became dangerous. In addition to these, the widespread use of automobiles decreased the interest of young people to the island, and Istanbul residents preferred the Mediterranean beaches for the summer residence. In the years when I observed that my beloved Burgaz disappeared from my childhood, the idea of ​​making a movie about Burgaz was born. I searched for the first exit point in Sait Faik source. We have never met Sait Faik, the deceased, in his health; on this occasion, I have read all of the stories about Burgaz all over again. What very similar observations we had! The story called "Who is Who" gave me a core idea. In the 90s, I made some script drafts. Since these drafts generally reflect the sadness of the disappearance of Burgaz in my childhood memories and Sait Faik stories, I named the design "Farewell Burgaz". Of course, in the conditions of the day, this design went to the drawer and to other designs.

My friend Cengiz Ergun, the producer ofHanım, suggested that she would again make a movie with the taste ofHanımandFarewell Burgazcame out of the drawer. There former love, the divided Greek woman character from Turkey brought into a former lover in Germany. Of course, East-West cultural contradictions came into play. Thus, while the old childhood ties, Sait Faik stories and the change in Burgaz, theFarewell Burgaz scenario took its final form with Hannelore Elsner momentum.

While I was giving the script to Cengiz Ergun, I also opened the Hannelore Elsner issue. Cengiz Ergun was mentally minded, "Okay, let's connect the work." I telephoned Hannelore, told the movie I was thinking of making together. He was delighted. He also gave me a date that would be suitable for shooting, considering the contractual television and film works. "Send the script now," he said.

The script, which was translated into English in a short time, was sent to Hannelore Elsner. He told me on the phone that he had a movie work and that he would call me within a month when his job was completed. Although more than three years have passed since that speech, no sound has been heard again from Hannelore Elsner. He was thoroughly involved in losses. I supposedly mentioned the Farewell Burgaz to the people he did business with in Germany, it was suggested that playing in such a movie would hurt him and lose his whole career.

Kevencioğlu mansion owned by Hüsnü & Enver Uzunoğlu, where he spent the summer of 15 yrs with Mrs.Gülper

Cengiz Ergun also offered to find another foreign player. In the fire disaster of 2003 while considering the possibilities, the mansion of the aunt's sons, who I lived for many years and which I thought of as the main attraction of Farewell Burgaz, also burned. Nobody had the power to hand over the Farewell Burgaz bill anymore. Gülper's and my love for the island, which became completely odd after the fire, was relapse again. We bought a small apartment there in 2004 and said "Get well soon Burgaz". We quickly fused with the shopkeepers, seagulls, cats and dogs of the island. The sea was no longer as dirty as before. Some fish were even visible. Were we going back to the old days, or would Farewell come back to Burgaz again? Let's see... What does one see as we live! Don't the stories of these scenarios turning into movies show that?

National Attitude in Cinema '' Book of Halit Refiğ '' - Interview: Şengün Kılıç Hristidis

The house in Burgaz was sacrificed because my grandfather's death coincided with the Wealth Tax. If my grandfather were alive, could such a thing be done? I don't know. But it is understood that my grandfather died a year ago, tax came, there was a heritage problem on that house, it was a matter of overcoming the problem to some extent. But my aunts also had homes there and my relationship with the three aunt sons was very good. Especially the older brother was one of the people I admire with his skills and interests beyond being a member of the family: Hüsnü Uzunoğlu. After my family's home was sold, I went to Burgaz from time to time to my aunts.

In my childhood there were two strong attraction points on me: Burgaz: the sea, the ferries; Polonezköy: nature, animals. Now Burgaz, sea, ferries continue. Polonezköy account continues with Sapanca.

Mrs. Gülper tries not to forget the Burgaz Island cats as much as possible in the winter.

Burgaz takes place in various periods in my life. Bay Refik's House, which  Sedad Hakkı (Eldem) included this house in his book, the view of the sea, pier, ferries, the view of Kaşık Island and Heybeli Island ... A sparkling sea at that time, the fish were fusing. I have some kind of fascinating effect on me. But then there is a period in my life that we always come to, a crazy period. Perhaps it was a very innocent period in the face of today's concept of madness, but in my line, it was a very adventurous period from 1953 when I went to England to when I became a film director. At that time, Burgaz remained quite impure and other interests came to the fore. But the album did not break completely. The tightening of my relationship with Burgas comez back to 80 years, but this period has become increasingly uncomfortable for me.

Once in the first half of the 80's, Marmara was getting more and more polluted. The fish had disappeared, and they were warned that swimming was dangerous. Let me go back: In my childhood the native of the island were Greeks. The fishermen Sait Faik wrote in his stories are artisans. Turks were mostly summer makers. As Sait Faik Abasıyanık very interestingly found in his stories, Burgaz was essentially a Greek character. As the Cyprus issues gradually escalated, the Greeks left Istanbul and a decrease in the island population occurred.

These changes started to cool me off the island. Meanwhile, my aunt, Hüsnü Uzunoğlu, whom I had a very good relationship with, died. When all this overlaps ...

Return to Burgaz:

There is money from the sale of the house in Cyprus. We look at each other with Gülper, what are we going to do? We said, let's take a look at Burgaz. But we haven't been to Burgaz for years, our last visit is due to fire. We went to Burgaz one day, we got off the ferry, we look. We have friends named Ülkü and Engin Aktel there. Ülkü Hanım is a journalist at the Istanbul State Ballet, but her husband is a journalist, but she is no longer a journalist. They invited, half an hour after we had tea, we were at our home today.

A change that has been difficult to describe has occurred in Burgaz. Once the sea was cleaned to a great extent. Old fish are extinct and no longer exist, but there are "fishermen" anyway. In the 90s, the social unrest that abducted us from the island has completely disappeared, and a sense of solidarity and solidarity has emerged that no ethnic or religious characteristics prevail. Everyone is in good relationship with each other, plus an incredible situation, all island tradesmen have adopted the island's cats and dogs. Dogs, vaccine tags in their ears, walk around the market. When fishermen come and approach the beach, cats, dogs, seagulls and crows are waiting for their rows to arrive. It's not going to happen! It is not believable. Thomas More's Utopia how much money! Because there was a certain equality between people, but the situation of animals here is extraordinary. I sincerely think that there is currently a lifestyle that will model the whole world as a micro cosmos in Burgaz. There is an amazing life fused with nature, where great solidarity occurs between people, without religion, language, ethnic strife, and this solidarity includes animals.

After the fire on Burgaz Island, chestnut trees, most of which came from the garden of the house of Refiğ family in Sapanca, were planted in the fire zone. The leaders in this business were Hasan Duruer, who was the Sapanca District Governor at that time (with a paddle in his hand) and his friends from Sapanca, who had a first-degree contribution to the transportation of saplings to the island.

View of independent cinema: .... instead of Turkey in its essence ore loyalty to America or the EU partnership enthusiasm seems to have more weight. In that respect, I am out of date, but I must admit that I do not have a big problem. Because I have a wife with whom I get along very well and I have a small shelter in Burgaz with my wife that I get along with, which we consider to be the best place in the world. What more can I ask for?

I am not experiencing the trouble of those who did not, but the happiness of those who have been. Fortunately, we have been able to see quite a few places in the world, and even some of them have been living. But the place where I can live in the final account, I believe that the defects without closing my eyes whit Turkey. It is something we talk to Gülper very often; If I was asked, we will put you somewhere, you will spend the rest of your life there, so I would choose Burgaz Island.

Survey I - State Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Architecture, Survey Publications (1968)

Prepared by: Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Feridun Akozan, Köksal Anadol

Survey: Nevzat Erol, Yunus Açıkgöz

Atatürk Library Archive

The drawings at the top left and bottom are the same as the surveys.

Top right: Ground floor plan

Bottom right: Penthouse plan

Akillas Millas Drawings

According to the drawings of Akillas Millas, it is understood that the house belonged to the "βρυέννιος" (Latin: Bryennios or Bryennius) family before the Refiğ family, who came to Istanbul from Thessaloniki (Selanik) during the Balkan War in 1913.

Seaside house No. 3 - οικ. βρυεννίου
Seaside house No. 10 - οικ. βρυεννίου

Bay Refik's Seaside House in Old Photographs


Prince Islands Catalog, Adalı Publishing (2010)

Bird's Eye Bay Refik's Seaside House (Wooden Color at the Quayside, Brown Color)
Bird's Eye Bay Refik's Seaside House Side View

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