Historic factory becoming the first paper museum
Visitors wil learn about the adventure of paper in the museum, which wis set to open next year. AA photosThe SEKA Paper Factory in the northwestern province of İzmit, one of the first industrial enterprises in the history of the Turkish Republic, is being converted into Turkey’s first and Europe’s biggest paper museum.
“People will learn about the history of paper here,” Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality Secretary-General Tahir Büyükakın recently said.
The construction of the factory started in 1934 and opened in 1936 with an annual production capacity of 12,000 tons. It was one of the most modern factories in the world at the time and produced the first local paper on April 18, 1936.
In an article titled “Paper,” which was published on April 21, 1936, in daily Cumhuriyet, famous writer Peyami Safa said: “April 18 is worthy of being launched as a paper festival for our profession because while it can survive without bread, it can’t without paper. Paper is everything to us.”
Thanks to the factory, Turkey’s dependence on imported paper ended, and newspapers began to be published with national paper produced in İzmit.
During the construction process, there were concerns that the plant would suffer loss, but the factory grew within a short time, coming to employ thousands of people in the region. Sports facilities and movie theaters in the area also met the social needs of people.
Investments in the factory were halted in 1997 amid privatization attempts. The process elicited reactions among workers and locals, but production activities were ended in 2005 after the factory was handed over to Kocaeli Metropolitan Municipality.
The municipality initiated Turkey’s largest industrial transformation project on the 110-hectare site. As a result of works, Sekapark was opened in 2006 as one of Turkey’s largest entertainment areas, which includes the Seka Science Center and Seka Paper Museum. After 1.5 years of work, historical machines used in the paper productions have been restored. Work is continuing on the indoor space at the factory, which will reopen next year as the largest paper museum in Europe.
“Works have been continuing for the ‘Seka Cultural Field,’ including museums, the science center, memorial houses and a film set. The factory has been restored to its original. There is no such a museum in Turkey and the world,” he said.
Büyükakın said the museum was set to open in mid-2015. “As well as displaying restored machines, there will be video screening areas in the museum.