“Citizens” focuses on people born and raised in Istanbul and who are masters of their domains. In this section, described as unsung heroes of Istanbul, we talk about citizens’ Istanbul, profession, yesterday and today.
Scriptwriter Ece Yörenç has somehow touched the hearts of each of us through her Tv series Yaprak Dökümü, Aşk-ı Memnu and Kuzey Güney.
Words: Sidni Karavil
Images: Nazlı Erdemirel
Ece’s father was a military officer. The first vivid memory of her childhood is of a trip from Erzurum to Istanbul. Her family had bought a house in Kızıltoprak and they had lived in Ataköy as they were waiting for their new house to be prepared for them to live in. Ataköy gave her a two years of “American movie type of childhood” in a green, sterilized environment from the age of five to seven. There she had a beautiful neighborhood where everyone lived harmoniously with one another, children bicycled with their swimming suits, swam or went to see the movies together.

The letters of childhood written to classmates
When she went to Çorlu because of his father’s office, she began writing letters to her teacher and classmates. Her teacher Hurisel read all these letters to the students every week, with tears.

“At 12, I used to go to Yalıçiftlik Charcuterie, Beyaz Fırın (Bakery), the pickle store ve the butcher at Kadıköy Bazaar and back to home by taking the bus by myself. I knew every stone on each side street.” Ece says. She complains that everything is so temporary nowadays. She tells about the hardship she experienced during the time she went to high school, Kadıköy Girls High School, because of the terrorist attacks and the armed conflicts. “I would have gone crazy if I had been a mother at that time.” she remarks.

She meets with her husband-to-be as she rows and he water-skis…
She goes on to tell how she has met her husband when it comes to her adult years. “My husband had a speedboat then. And I liked rowing a boat. He stole my heart as he was water-skiing. He wet me and my friend as he passed by. Then he held the boat. This was his first and last mischievous act in his life. And he stole my heart with it.”

She has always lived on the Anatolian side to this day. She even describes herself as a “child of Cadde”. She knew Şaşkın Bakkal’s son. “Everyone knew one another then.” she says. Ece lived on the Anatolian Side until she decided to stop living with her son and move to another house. And now she lives in Bebek. We make this interview in her house with a splendid Bosphorus view.

Legendary Series written based on the inspiration from Istanbul
Then we talk about her Tv series. She has a repertoire of Tv series scripts that somehow touched the lives of each one of us. And there is Istanbul and its cultural values in many of them.

“There is always an Istanbul in the background in any work I do. I am especially careful about that since the time my Tv series became international. I want to reflect all the colors I see in the city. I like seeing around through the eyes of a local person when I visit a different country. So I try to express our local habits in the scripts; you would always see the fish, Turkish delight, marzipan and simit of Istanbul in my series.

Ece’s Istanbul Rituals
Bebek Market, Santral Charcuterie, Bebek Fish Restaurant, Ece Bar Asmalımescit, La Boucherie, La Boom, Ulus 29, Kahraman, Kıyı, Divan Fenerbahçe, Hagia Erine Church, Hamdi Restaurant, Historical Peninsula…

“Istanbul has such a historical richness that you can even experience five different versions of the city in a single day. I have had evenings when I ate dinner at Hamdi and went to a concert in Hagia Erine Church right after.”

So does she write her own story?
She says she actually wrote her own story through the series Yaprak Dökümü. “It felt as if I was in therapy during those five and a half years in which I wrote Yaprak Dökümü. There were my mother, my father and us in that script. And there was this family table around which we sat, gathered and looked into each other’s eyes at 7 pm every evening, no matter what had happened throughout the day. Actually we all experience our own Yaprak Dökümü (Fall Foliage) in our urbanized lives. In the book, the reason was adopting the Western life style. There are many instruments in a big city for a fall foliage. I deeply felt the absence of that family table later in my life. There were days that I and my son did not see each other ever though we lived in the same house. “

FROM THE ARCHIVES
FEASTS
FINDS
CASE SERIES
ALL ARCHIVES
FROM THE ARCHIVES
FEASTS
THE DIAMOND FOLD

The art of using the right napkin in four steps.

FINDS
THE BARBICAN CENTRE

Is the Barbican Centre, one of the greatest examples of brutalist architecture, a monument of ugliness or an architectural gem?

CASE SERIES
MEMOR(Y)IAL DESTRUCTION

The art month in Istanbul is September and for me it took a start with the exhibition “Memor(y)ial Destruction”.

BLACKOUTS
SEGOVIA

‘In Medina del Campo the history of Spain can be experienced on its streets, its public places and in the cluster of historical buildings in the city center. This is the city of Isabella, Queen of Spain.’

LOVE LETTERS
FEM GÜÇLÜTÜRK

The love letter to Çıtlık Ağacı (Turpentine Tree) that botanist Fem Güçlütürk wrote is reflecting something beyond the love that we know.

SENSES
AYŞE BOYNER

We feel Ayşe Boyner’s high energy through all of her senses.

CITIZENS
NURAY ADA

Best friend, a local break spot, a deep relaxing breath, or maybe a handful of mud ready to be shaped…