Istanbul’s toy museum to continue to ‘serve children’: Diyanet

Istanbul’s toy museum to continue to ‘serve children’: Diyanet

Istanbul’s toy museum to continue to ‘serve children’: Diyanet Turkey’s top religious authority has ended a controversy which erupted after the Düştepe Toy Museum was ordered to vacate its premises in Istanbul’s Ataşehir to enable the location’s use by the office of the local district mufti, saying the museum should continue to serve children. 

“I am happy and thankful to everyone who stands up for the world of child’s play, museology and parks, to all those who voiced a reaction. Today, my trust in humans multiplied,” the founder of the museum, Turkish writer and poet Sunay Akın, wrote on his Twitter account after receiving a call from Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) to keep the museum running.

“As a result of the awareness that you created, they called me from the Diyanet and said they heard of the news today and that the district mufti could work in the basement if there was no additional space,” Akın said. “They said they wanted the toy museum to continue serving children.”

According to Akın’s Twitter post, Diyanet said it would release an official statement as soon as the nine-day public holiday for the Eid al-Fitr ended.

The news over the Istanbul municipality’s demand surfaced after Akın received a notice to vacate two buildings at Ataşehir’s Mimar Sinan Park – one serving as a museum and the other as a game workshop. 

After receiving a notice to vacate the museum, Akın, who is also the founder of the museum, protested the decision through his Twitter account.  

“One of the three barracks at the park belongs to the office of the mufti while two others belong to the toy museum. The office of the mufti can move to a larger building. Parks are children’s playgrounds!” he said, calling on citizens to protect the museum.

“The office of the mufti can provide services at a building but children cannot be locked up inside a room,” he added, stressing the center’s location at a park was vital for its proper functioning.

 “Let’s put two pictures side-by-side, one from the office of the mufti and another from the Toy Museum. Whichever has happiness should stay in the park,” the writer concluded. 

Akın has repeatedly voiced his trust in toys for building social peace and their role in understanding the history of civilization. 

Akın visited antique dealers in 40 countries over the past two decades to collect some 4,000 toys. He currently displays most of his toy collection at the Istanbul Toy Museum, which was established in the Göztepe neighborhood on the city’s Asian side in 2005 at a historical mansion owned by the poet’s family. Akın is also the founder of toy museums in the southern province of Antalya and the southeastern province of Gaziantep.