Original photos, documents signed by Atatürk stolen
A pavilion in Büyükada Island south of Istanbul that belonged to the grandson of early republican politician Ali Fethi Okyar has been burglarized once again in the same year, and this time signed photographs and documents by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, were stolen.
According to daily Hürriyet columnist İhsan Yılmaz, the story of the thefts began in 2019 when Fethi Okyar, named after his grandfather, sold a photo signed by Atatürk in an auction.
“A photo signed by Atatürk for his best friend Ali Fethi Okyar was sold for 110,000 Turkish Liras [$14,300] in an auction. The seller was Fethi Okyar who was named after his grandfather,” wrote Yılmaz.
After just three months from the time of the auction, Okyar’s pavilion in Büyükada got vandalized in which the robbery of a look-alike version of the same photograph took place.
“The criminal investigation that was conducted ended with no result. The perpetrator or perpetrators could not be caught,” wrote Yılmaz.
A year later, Okyar left the town for a while, but when he came back, he saw that his pavilion had been burglarized once again.
According to the columnist, the thieves or a possible group of thieves knew exactly what they wanted.
“Only the files containing Free Republican Party’s correspondences were brought down from the library and were opened in the middle of the living room,” added Yılmaz.
Free Republican Party, sometimes referred to as the Liberal Republican Party, which is “Serbest Fırka” in Turkish, was a political party founded by Ali Fethi Okyar, upon Atatürk’s request in the early years of the Turkish Republic.
Yılmaz noted that from those party files, only the photos and the correspondences that had Atatürk’s signatures were stolen. “Nothing else was touched.”
The columnist compared these two burglaries with the ones in the American writer Lawrence Block’s detective novels.
“Remember in Block’s series, we were introduced with some robbers who only robbed signed photographs. Aren’t these Büyükada robberies the same as Lawrence Block’s crime novels?” asked Yılmaz in the concluding sentences of his column.