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Ercüment Atabay

Oral History Interview with Ercüment Atabay, undertaken by Günder Varinlioğlu on May 19, 2011, at Mr. Atabay’s apartment in Istanbul. Mr. Atabay was associated with people and projects in Istanbul that were sponsored by Dumbarton Oaks. The interview was conducted in Turkish, transcribed, and translated into English. English conventions are used in the translation. For example, the English honorifics “Mr.” and “Mrs.” that accompany the Turkish names are an approximation of the Turkish honorifics “Hanım” and “Bey.”

This interview was undertaken as part of the ICFA Oral History Initiative. A Turkish-language transcript is also available.

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GV: My name is Günder Varinlioğlu. The date is May 19, 2011. I have the pleasure of interviewing Ercüment Atabay, a former professor in the Department of Western Languages and Civilizations at Bogazici University. This work of oral history is a joint project between the two departments of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, located in Washington D.C.: namely, the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives and the Dumbarton Oaks Archives. Before we begin, do I have your permission to record this interview?

EA: With certain reservations, yes, you do.

GV: Alright. Could you tell us your name for the record?

EA: Mehmet Ercüment Atabay.

GV: Thank you. Where and when were you born?

EA: I was born in Besiktas in 1338 of the old style and 1922 of the new style. July 25, that is.

GV: Where were your parents from? And what were their professions?

EA: My mother was a house wife, and my father was a merchant.

GV: Were they from Istanbul, too?

EA: My father is from Crimea and my mother is from Istanbul.

GV: Do you have any siblings?

EA: No, I’m the only child.

GV: Alright. Are you married? And do you have children?

EA: I’m married and I have three children: An elder daughter, a son and a younger daughter.

GV: What are their professions?

EA: This is a difficult one. My elder daughter is a Professor of English, my son is a business man and my younger daughter works for the United Nations.

GV: Can you tell us about your education?

EA: I can. First I went to the English High School for Boys in 1929. That was where I learned how to read and write and the rest. Then I passed the University of London’s Matriculation in 1939. For the first semester of 1939, I was a student at Robert College. But, because I had gotten accepted to the Faculty of Literature at Istanbul University, I studied there with Mrs. Halide Edip until 1942. In the year 1942, the British Council gave me a scholarship for the United Kingdom. And so, I went from Turkey to Britain during the war in 1942. The way I went was – first from here to Egypt, then I flew from Egypt to South Africa, and after travelling from South Africa by ship for three months, I finally arrived in the UK. The university that I went to is St. Andrews, currently a famous university. This here is the tie of that university.

GV: Is it?

EA: This – anyway, I arrived there. I graduated from the History Department of St. Andrews in 1945. I returned to Istanbul in ‘45. I worked as Mrs. Halide Edip’s assistant in the Department of English Philology of the Faculty of Literature until 1950–51 and taught classes on English Literature. I finished my Ph.D. in the year 1950 with high honors. I went to Robert College as a professor of humanities at the beginning of the year of 1951. And then, after a while Robert College – I worked there, at Robert College, until 1971, when it was closed, that is when it was renamed “Girls’ College.” And it was transformed into – it reopened under the name of Bogazici University. I continued teaching there. It was in 1982, I think, when I retired. This means that the total of the number of years I taught at Robert College and Bogazici amounts, more or less, to fifty.

GV: Did you do your Ph.D. with Halide Edip Adivar?

EA: Yes, I did my Ph.D. with Mrs. Halide Edip.

GV: What was the topic?

EA: The topic was “Classicism in Edmund Spenser’s Work” –Edmund Spenser, the poet, of course.

GV: What courses did you teach at Bogazici University?

EA: Many –

GV: So many?

EA: I taught 26 different courses. And so let’s not get into that.

GV: Let’s not get into it – alright.

EA: Suffice it to say I taught courses on English Literature and European History, if you will.

GV: Alright. Let’s get into Byzantium. When did you start to get interested in Byzantium?

EA: I have no personal interest in Byzantium. Mine is more – I’m interested in archaeology. I met Mr. Paul Underwood. Well, it indeed happened more like this: It was in 1947, I think. No, either in ‘47 or ‘48. There was this Professor Muller, H. J Muller. Van Nice was working in Hagia Sophia. Together with Muller, I tried recording the masons’ marks there in order to help Van Nice. It was a long time – for fun, you know. During that time I was seeing Mr. Whittemore coming and going. I don’t personally know Whittemore. Whittemore was such a, well, mysterious person. He would come and he would go. Nobody knew from where he collected the money. He would show up, just like that, for a while, and would not talk. He would wander around Hagia Sophia with his hat on, would sometimes chat with us, and leave. And so thereafter, as a result of our work together, Van Nice recommended me to Paul Underwood, telling him that I was his friend. When, later, Paul Underwood came here, we became friends. We were friends for a long time. After 1955 – anyhow, after Whittemore died, the Byzantine Institute, which had been a private institution to begin with, disappeared all of a sudden. Its name persisted for a while. Its works were taken over by Dumbarton Oaks. And then Underwood requested me to help him in ‘55, and I accepted it. From then on, until, well, until his death, I did certain jobs for him while he was a field director here. I tried acquiring the necessary permissions from the government, and, together with this, this guy, I took care of relations in Hagia Sophia, etc.

GV: So, how did you meet Van Nice?

EA: Van Nice – well, he was doing these things at Hagia Sophia. He was friends with this Mr. Muller. I met him through Professor Muller.

GV: Yes, we know about that project. How did you meet Muller, then? I mean, how did you get involved in this project?

EA: How did I meet Muller? Muller was – well, H. J. Muller was a visiting professor at the Faculty of Literature, where I was an assistant. That is how we met.

GV: Because of your interest in archaeology?

EA: No, no, not at all. I’m only curious because I am a historian; that’s why.

GV: And so, this “masons’ marks” was –

EA: No, we did it together for fun!

GV: Yes, I think you have recorded fifteen hundred masons’ marks.

EA: Yes, well, more or less. It is written there, isn’t it?

GV: Yes, it is. I saw it written in a correspondence. So, you never spoke with Whittemore? Only –

EA: We were only introduced once. I do not know much about Whittemore. He had a friend here, living somewhere on the Bosphorus. I cannot recall his name at all right now.

GV: I can tell you: Archibald Walker.

EA: Yes, Walker, that’s it! He used to stay at his place. They used to be very good friends. I mean, Walker used to like Whittemore a lot. Walker used to praise his knowledge of English Literature highly. Walker and I – I only saw him a couple of times on occasion; he wasn’t someone I knew. Also, he had an apartment on the Bosphorus and he used to help out Whittemore in certain things. He used to stay with him.

GV: Did Walker use to visit frequent –

EA: No, no, no, no, no. He was just a friend of Whittemore’s.

GV: Yes, but you do know about his staying at his apartment.

EA: Sure, he used to stay at his apartment.

GV: Yes. So, did you have relations with anybody else working at the Byzantine Institute?

EA: Yes, I did. Byzantine Institute, wait, where? Here?

GV: Here.

EA: Its head, if you will, was Ernest Hawkins. Ernest Hawkins – he later on continued at Dumbarton Oaks. He was a sort of, a very learned, very knowing man. And so, he used to take care of all the business with the workers, etc. He would always help with projects like the uncovering of the mosaics. Also, Paul Underwood – well, not much. He used to visit frequently. And Larry Majewski! Lawrence Majewski. He took on the project as the field director or the assistant field director. One person who worked with him was Mr. Carroll Wales. He worked on the frescoes. Four, five, or six workers, most of whom were Greek, worked on cleaning the mosaics and, well, uncovering the frescoes.

GV: It seems there weren’t many Turkish workers, were there?

EA: There were Turkish workers and Greek workers. Turkish workers would be hired more for – well, as masons.

GV: But it was predominantly Greeks who worked –

EA: Well, they were more – well, it was more or less equal – more or less. There was no specific discrimination, anyway.

GV: Were there any Russians?

EA: No, none.

GV: No Russians. How about any other nationality that you remember?

EA: No, there was nobody.

GV: Were the ones that you call Greek from Istanbul?

EA: Yes, yes, from Istanbul.

GV: They didn’t come from abroad?

EA: No, no, they were from Istanbul. Let me try to remember something here – an American lady, who was visiting, told me how she had always wanted to see – Americans tend to be naïve like that – a Byzantine mason. I told her that if she really wanted to see one that much, I could show her one. She told me she would be grateful. “Well then,” I said, “Yusuf come over here.” There was this Yusuf. I told her, “Here! A Byzantine mason was just like this one.” She did not get the joke but – anyway, so it was.

GV: I will not ask who Yusuf was. I presume, he was one of those who worked there.

EA: One of those who worked there.

GV: Now, to continue with my questions concerning the Byzantine Institute: Do you know about Foto Iskender?

EA: Yes, my dear, I do. There used to be some – Sebah Joaillier, and it is their – at the turn of the century – well, it is the most famous photographer here, this Sebah Joaillier. So, much that they had also taken our school pictures at the time and everything. Photography, then, used to be –

GV: You mean when you were in Robert College?

EA: No, this was at the English High School.

GV: English High School.

EA: They were taken when I was there. That’s not important. They were the ones who took them. He did not do anything with anyone anymore after the cameras were brought. I mean, Majewski would take the photographs and we would print them, ourselves, at the apartment in, in Cihangir.

GV: I asked, because in our records it is written that all of the photographs of the Byzantine Institute were taken by Foto Iskender.

EA: It may well be the case.

GV: Could it?

EA: Yes, because they were the one during the time of the Byzantine Institute. It was after Dumbarton Oaks took over that they were let go. Only then did we start to take photographs ourselves. I could not, but Majewski took photographs.

GV: Yes. This one will be a bit of a side question but, do you know anyone by the name of Nicholas Victor Artamonoff?

EA: By the name of what?

GV: Artamonoff.

EA: No.

GV: Nicholas Artamonoff.

EA: I don’t know him.

GV: You don’t know him. You were a student of Sven Larsen. Have you ever – because Sven Larsen was also very interested in Byzantium, in archaeology.

EA: Well, Larsen. The year 1939 – Mr. Larsen was my mathematics teacher during the first semester of the ’39–‘40 academic year, when I was a student at Robert College. I don’t know how interested he was. I only have this one memory of him: One day I was at the Hagia Sofia Mosque, where I used to go pretty frequently, anyway. He came up and I remember him shouting: “This wonderful space!”

GV: You have already mentioned him but, how did you meet Underwood? Did Van Nice –

EA: Through Van Nice. He gave him my name when he was coming here. We met. We came home. We were friends for a long time. I started helping them out with work after ‘55, anyhow.

GV: Do you have any other, more personal, memories of Underwood that you would like to share? What was the nature of your friendship? How was Underwood’s personality?

EA: He was, really, very nice! How shall I say? It is difficult to answer such kind of questions. He was a little timid – I don’t know. He was a very loving person. He did not have much to tell. He trusted me. Together, we – so, I was helping him. In certain respects, he was a bit too – for example, he would let things out. Like, for example, when he would be talking to the Director of the Hagia Sophia Museum, and I would be translating, for example, and even when the Director would prefer to not hear something, he would keep on telling it. I would then work on saving the situation, etc. We quite often had anecdotes like that.

GV: Was this with Muzaffer Ramazanoglu?

EA: No, dear, not with Ramazanoglu. This is before Ramazanoglu, with Feridun Dirimtekin.

GV: Now, I think you were playing a major role in the bureaucratic procedures during the abandonment of this Byzantine Institute and its transformation into Dumbarton Oaks. There is a correspondence where you tell Paul Underwood not to change the name Byzantine Institute. You advise them that, even if they do change the name, they should at least keep the term “Byzantine” in the new institutional title. You tell them that it should be so because the Byzantine Institute had managed to establish a good place, a good reputation in Turkey; should there be such a transformation, the new institution should sustain ties with the Byzantine Institute.

EA: Yes, exactly. That is correct – because the other one was Ataturk. Mr. Whittemore had talked to Ataturk. There is a document by Ataturk that states the mosaics to be uncovered. This document was lost by Dumbarton Oaks.

GV: I was about to ask that –

EA: That, that –

GV: We never saw this document.

EA: It must have lost it. This is a fundamental mistake. And then, later, approximately – well, I do not remember its date, and I never cut it out to keep it. But this Turkish – Ataturk Foundation would issue a different calendar each year with different photographs from Ataturk’s life. I think it was ten years from now, that they included a photograph talking to Whittemore. It was a large photograph. Not many people knew it. It was, of course, only me who understood who that was.

GV: Yes, so there was a single document. And that was probably given to Whittemore and then got lost –

EA: That must have been lost.

GV: Yes. So, as you have already mentioned, your affiliation with Dumbarton Oaks started in 1955.

EA: Approximately.

GV: Approximately…It seems to have intensified in the ‘60s.

EA: Well, it continued, like that, until – until Underwood died. After him Cyril Mango became the, well, the field director. Lawrence Majewski was responsible for the field direction here. Later he left to teach at New York University. It all started to bog down slowly thereafter coinciding with the time of Cyril Mango. The name remained for a while. The closing down of the apartment in Cihangir, I think, was in 1974. The director of Dumbarton Oaks around that time was Bill Tyler. It was Bill Tyler. His son – well, his daughter and son-in-law were working here at the consulate. The name – it’ll come to me now. At any rate, I packed away the furniture in the apartment in Cihangir. There was a library there. We had bought this library from the renowned, well, the renowned Byzantine scholar Mambouri many years ago during the time of Underwood. I think it was bought for something like two thousand dollars at the time. This library had been set up in the apartment in Cihangir. Some of the books there – Dumbarton Oaks wanted some of them, which we then sent. The remaining ones were donated to ARIT, the American Research Institute here.

GV: Yes. How about – you have done many things for Dumbarton Oaks, but how about your actual responsibilities.

EA: Honestly, my responsibility was utterly ambiguous, meaning subjective. Whenever there was like – for example, if there was need for a new tire, and at the time it was a bit – well, I would go to the distributor, talk to them about it, and get the tire. I mean, I had such kinds of responsibilities, as well. Or, for example, there would be a need for permission from the Directorate of Museums, and I would help the correspondence therewith. So, such kinds of things.

GV: But there is no written contract or document defining your responsibilities?

EA: No, no, no, no, no, entirely subjective. I mean with – I was only helping Paul. That’s all.

GV: So, always through Paul Underwood?

EA: I was helping Paul Underwood. We would also go when he was not here. I would go to Kariye Mosque and would relate the necessary instructions to the masons, etc. Paul Underwood would stay here for very short periods, and so I was spending more time with Majewski.

GV: Meaning, you were not responsible to a specific person? It was more of a friendship?

EA: Yes, okay, that is it.

GV: So, there was no official contract?

EA: No, no, no, there was no such thing.

GV: I read another correspondence between you and Paul Underwood in 1962, whereby you write: “I am not concerned by your calling me “the secretary.” “But so far,” you state, “…I have always helped Dumbarton Oaks in a subjective manner until now.” You wrote that in ‘62, and two years later, in 1964, there still isn’t a trace of this official title of yours. And yet, you also tell Underwood that he had better avoid referring to you as ‘secretary’ or ‘translator’ in his official correspondence with Turkish authorities, since that may create certain problems.

EA: That is correct.

GV: Well, why is that? Can you, please, explain?

EA: No, well, I did not have any official – I actually don’t really remember the circumstances then. That was long, I don’t know, about fifty years, ago.

GV: Yes. But, I mean, how did the Turkish authorities recognize you?

EA: The Turkish authorities? Well, I was friends with the director of Hagia Sofia, anyway, and work was completely on Hagia Sophia. Both Kariye and Fethiye were connected to Hagia Sophia. And even though Fenari Isa was itself not connected, the excavation there, too, was connected to it. And I – I was friends with Mr. Feridun. In cases of need for correspondence I would be the one to get through to him.

GV: Yes. So, for the Turkish authorities you were only a help.

EA: They would not even know my name.

GV: Interesting.

EA: No, I mean there was no – we didn’t have much to do with Turkish authorities at any rate.

GV: So, only when acquiring permission.

EA: Permission – well, the permission had been granted to begin with, and was still valid. And there was no other.

GV: How about your friendship with Feridun Dirimtekin? I mean –

EA: He was the director of Hagia Sophia. We met there. We became friends.

GV: Yes. Alright then, we will talk a little bit about money now. You seem to have been responsible for the management of Dumbarton Oaks’s funds, as well. As far as I understand, this money couldn’t be transferred to an account under your name. Instead, it was brought to you by Hawkins or another person who would be coming here at the beginning of the season.

EA: Now, here is how it was: The Greek workers were paid in the winter, as well. Because the rest were day-laborers, their work would be terminated by the winter. They would leave the bulk sum of their salaries to me. I would distribute the salaries at the beginning of each month. That was all there was to it.

GV: Why were they transferring the money to your account, but coming to you, as such, with cash? Is there –

EA: No. At the time there was a strange – I don’t comprehend the way they dealt with money.

GV: I mean, is the way they would bring such a bulk of money to you about transfer –

EA: Like – that’s – nothing difficult. It’s a simple matter. A certain amount of money would be – well, a “gratuitous bailee” – that is how they call that, you know. They would leave it. I would then make the monthly payments from this sum. This is all.

GV: Why were the Greeks paid in the winter while the Turks were day-laborers?

EA: Well, they were – Turks. There was no such discrimination. The others – they were artists. They were hired for a year. They would clean mosaics, etc. The others were laborers. That is to say they would lift masonry, and such – whatever there would be. It wasn’t because of some discrimination between Turks and Greeks. Some were artists, others were not.

GV: So, Dumbarton Oaks would pay a pension then? A retirement and –

EA: No, no retirement or anything. Everyone’s tax was paid. I mean, there was nothing – well, nothing unlawful would be carried out. There was this Mr. Emcet, who was a lawyer, and he would do their – the records of all of them were held at the Eminonu Taxation Office. Their employment history would be recorded in these official cards. So it was –

GV: While you are at it can you mention more about Mr. Emcet?

EA: Emcet Agis.

GV: Emcet Agis.

EA: Lawyer.

GV: But, apparently, also this – Archibald Walker was Socony-Vacuum Oil’s –

EA: He was the former director of it.

GV: Yes, and Mr. Emcet, their lawyer –

EA: He was the lawyer of Socony. That was how they met each other to begin with. They must have met so.

GV: So, must they have met through Walker?

EA: I do not know, dear, I do not know.

GV: You do not know this. Yes, alright then, let’s get into this apartment in Cihangir called Yildiz. Did you rent this? Did you see about this apartment? Was it you who found it?

EA: Honestly, let me tell you this: When Paul Underwood first came here, we rented, from a friend, this apartment right across here. This one right here. They were friends of ours.

GV: Right here?

EA: Right over here.

GV: On Husrevgerede?

EA: Yeah, over here. Anyway – but then around that time there was a – a sad situation. Let’s leave that. Let’s leave the private life aside. After then there – I’ll tell you about it off-the-record. Anyway, they found the apartment in Cihangir. Paul Underwood found it. I don’t know how he found it. I had nothing to do with that.

GV: But you were – well, you prepared it for the visitors, members of the team or, at any rate, for –

EA: I mean, the apartment – I would have the key when they would not be here. For example, Striker would come and stay there. And he would stay, and then leave, and then if another one of them – he would come and stay. There was, well, David Oates. Professor David Oates stayed. George Forsyth stayed, too.

GV: And what did Saban Kolat do?

EA: Saban? Well now, Saban is a mystery. Saban, you see, was the “all around man.” He was there at the time of Whittemore, as well. He was Hawkins’s man. It is not possible to explain what he – well, what Saban was doing. He was – well, he was our connection man. One would give him the money and have him get things, or ask him to fetch a specific artisan. He was a man like that. Exactly like that. It would be a lie if I said his job there was clear-cut.

GV: What was he doing exactly? What are certain things in your mind?

EA: It really is very difficult! I don’t know – say, he would find the artisans and the foremen, or he would send out payments and things – and things like that.

GV: Would he work as a laborer, too?

EA: No, no, no. Saban would be wearing a tie with his shirt, he was no laborer.

GV: He was not a laborer, but he was also not an educated –

EA: He was a – a trusted friend, if you will.

GV: He was so, but didn’t have a profession?

EA: No, no, he didn’t have a profession.

GV: Yes.

EA: He was a corsair during World War Two – One – Two.

GV: World War Two?

EA: [Laughs]

GV: Yes. Saban Kolat, isn’t it?

EA: Kolat, that’s right.

GV: Kolat is his last name. You are saying that it was Whittemore who found him?

EA: He was Whittemore’s man to begin with. He later stayed on.

GV: When did he pass away?

EA: I don’t remember.

GV: You do not remember. You mentioned an apartment near here. Was it this – I came across, in the documents, a place called Pansiyon Villa Rest on Kalipci Street at Apartment 104 – Hawkins and Cyril Mango had stayed there. It says that –

EA: I do not know this one.

GV: You don’t know this one. Alright. Providing the journals and books from here was among the duties that you fulfilled for Dumbarton Oaks, I think. I’ve come across one entitled “Belle –”

EA: Belleten! I don’t know what happened to it.

GV: And so, were you finding –

EA: I just was at booksellers – I would purchase books for libraries. I would –

GV: For the one in Deniz Apartment or for the one at Dumbarton Oaks?

EA: For the one here. I was buying them here. Dumbarton Oaks, later on took some books and they – we had bought, this, Mambouri’s library as a whole. And then later with Paul Underwood – you have heard the name Mambouri, haven’t you?

GV: Of course I have.

EA: We bought it and put it there. Actually when the library was dismantled I took most of those custom-made shelves there. The salvaged shelves are here at home. After that Dumbarton Oaks asked for some of those books. I mailed them to them. The ones that were left – well, Robert College wanted some, and they were donated to Robert College. And well, the rest – No, they were not! Robert College bought those! The college paid the money to, well, Dumbarton Oaks. The rest – I the rest were reference books. And so – was it the year of ’74? – I think it was ‘74, when we were moving out of the apartment. Thereafter, I – Loerke was working there at the time as – as the field – well, director of studies. W. C. Loerke. Thereafter, I met with – I knew him very little. He was not a very nice person, anyway. Did you know him?

GV: I did not.

EA: That’s good. You didn’t miss much. Don’t put this in, it’s off the record.

GV: [Laughs] Alright.

EA: After that they told me to give them to ARIT, to the American Research Institute. So I gave all the books to – well, to the director there, who was Lowry, Heath Lowry. The one who is currently working at Princeton University as – well, he is a professor. He used to be the director of that. I gave all of those books to them. I took them there.

GV: Yes. Were you, perhaps, living on Akaretler at some point?

EA: Me? No! I am still living where I was born, my child. I live approximately – I was born ten meters below here.

GV: Yes. Were you organizing parties or dinners here for the Dumbarton Oaks affiliates?

EA: No, my friends would come over for dinner.

GV: So, normal – nothing special. I will now go back to the year of 1956. Again, in a document I read you write to Underwood, “I want to use equipment belonging to Dumbarton Oaks in Hagia Sofia and Kariye.” You ask for permission to do so. Was that for your own research? Given that you asked for Underwood’s permission, it must have been for a project unrelated to Dumbarton Oaks.

EA: Honestly, you are right. But I really don’t remember.

GV: We have already talked a little bit about this, but, so Underwood consults you about both field work and plans for future projects. And you were also – you would visit certain sites in the winter and write your impressions of the works of Turkish specialists to Underwood. Have you ever – were you ever present at works undertaken by Dumbarton Oaks in Kariye or Fenari Isa? I mean, did you work there or would you just be visiting?

EA: No, I would work there. I was going every day. I was going in the day time and, you know, checking things. But, I mean, of course, I was not actually doing anything. I would talk to the workers if need be and whatever. It was like that. I was Underwood’s – when he was away we were with Majewski, who doesn’t speak Turkish.

GV: Did Underwood speak Turkish?

EA: No.

GV: Hawkins?

EA: Hawkins? Well, he knew some nonsensical things. He was a little – put colloquially, he was a little out of it. I mean –

GV: His mind?

EA: But he knew his job well. He was good. In that respect he had a bit of an inferiority complex, thinking, well, that he didn’t have a degree. And yet he would outdo many degree-holders in his knowledge.

GV: Yes, but, it seems Turkish people liked Hawkins very much.

EA: They did. So they did – Ernest Hawkins.

GV: Apparently you had also conducted photographic recording projects.

EA: What, dear?

GV: The project of photographing.

Atabey: Honestly I – I would help him – I was not photographing.

GV: But it seems you were organizing their production?

EA: They were taking them themselves. Majewski used to take all the photographs.

GV: Alright. Have you ever come across Yani Makridis?

EA: Yani Makridis? Well, now – his name would be written there.

GV: Yes.

EA: He was working mainly on the frescoes as an assistant to Carroll Wales. Later on, Carroll Wales left here and went to Boston. He opened a studio there – for restoration work. And his, well, his Greek friend – his name was not Yani, though. Help me out here. It was –

GV: Koco?

EA: Koco! Koco. Koco was his name. He –

GV: Is Koco another person?

EA: There were two Kocos. This one was – he was Carroll Wales’s friend. And he used to do – cleaning frescoes. Later on they left for Boston together. He helped him in a studio. Later on – after a while he died of cancer.

GV: Do you know Koco’s last name?

EA: I can’t recall right now.

GV: Who was the other Koco, then?

EA: He used to work on – well, on mosaics.

GV: Do you mean he was cleaning them?

EA: Cleaning mosaics.

GV: So Yani Makridis is –

EA: Yani is someone else. He was like that, too. He was also mosaic – they would do mosaic and fresco cleaning.

GV: He was not a photographer, then?

EA: No, no, he was not a photographer. Larry Majewski would take all the photographs.

GV: We saw his name in the context of a photography project and wondered if he did photographing –

EA: No, dear, he was not. He did not take photographs.

GV: Yes. So, you were also doing, well, you were taking the foreign visitors and –

EA: The visitors – I would greet – well, like a protocol. When an important person would come – I met Igor Stravinsky. It was me who showed Katherine Hepburn around. It was me who showed Bernstein around. It was me who showed Adenauer around – I mean Chancellor Adenaur – together with Adnan Menderes, I did his – I mean everyone would go there. I even made a list of people that I’d met.

GV: You have a list of that here at home?

EA: It is here. Now – of the ones I remember.

GV: Is there anything that you would like to tell us about them? – any anecdotes?

EA: There’s this one, where Adenauer asked me, “What do you do?” I said that I was, well, I said I was a professor. He responded, “How I wish that I, too, stayed that way.” This is all.

GV: Yes. Well, you were helping Dumbarton Oaks to get work permits.

EA: My child, this business of getting permissions of Turkish authorities is a sensitive issue. Let me tell you one: Ševčenko is a little obstinate. He likes himself a lot. He came here – I mean several times. He even told me once, while we were walking on the street, “I am headless.” And I told him, “You do have a head, it is just that it does not work.” He could not say a word. Anyway – he wanted to get this one permission. He said that he had written to the museum in Ankara and got a response the following day. “See,” he said, “This is a record!” “What was the response?” I asked. “No!” Well, now – [Laughs]. He resumed silence. They wrote such nonsense that Ankara, without giving it much thought, sent away the rejection – there are three ways of acquiring, or well, getting a response from Turkish authorities. You write to them: In one kind of case they say “yes”, that is fine. Another one is that they say “no,” and that is fine, too. Yet another one comes about when they don’t respond. When they don’t respond, one shouldn’t push it. If you push it, it resolves into a “no.” And if you wait it resolves into a “yes.” This – well, I was the only person actually doing this. These Americans tend to be a bit tactless. They, themselves – poor Paul was like that, too, and that was why he used to trust me in these matters.

GV: Would you travel to Ankara?

EA: No, no, no, no, not at all! – only from here by mail.

GV: By mail.

EA: No, no – not so – no such thing.

GV: Were you translating the documents, as well? Because the permissions were likely to have been written in Turkish.

EA: It was no big deal. A document would be written in Turkish, signed, and posted. Not much of a – we did not have much to do. The permission had already been granted and it went on being valid.

GV: Yes. I have a question about the Kariye Mosque project, now.

EA: Go ahead, dear.

GV: Now – Dumbarton Oaks was having made the canvas replicas of these frescoes –

EA: They made a replica of it.

GV: A replica.

EA: Carroll Wales made it. One of them – it was sent to Dumbarton Oaks. The one that went there, by the way is of, well, when Jesus went down to Hell, and, well, the one with him resurrecting Mary and Adam. They asked for permission to send it abroad. The permission for this was my – the dean of the Academy of Fine Arts was a friend of mine. I went there, got it signed, took it, and we sent it away.

GV: Carroll Wales did not do it himself, it seems.

EA: Carroll Wales – he made the replica.

GV: So he made it? There was also mention of Charles Compton.

EA: Ah, yes, sorry! Compton made it. It was Compton who made it. Carroll Wales did the cleaning – Compton made it. That is correct, I am sorry.

GV: Alright. Then there is this issue of – to our knowledge it was made in the 1950s. But it only reaches Dumbarton Oaks, much later, in 1963.

EA: It wasn’t until the ‘60s?

GV: Not until the ‘60s.

EA: The replica was made slowly by Philip Compton. Philip Compton was – he was making these replicas for a long time at the – and then he left to work at the British Museum. Thereafter he went to the Ashmolean Museum as a restorer.

GV: So, where were these replicas kept in the winter? They are quite large and –

EA: What?

GV: These replicas –

EA: Honestly, I think they were at –

GV: – they are said to have remained in Turkey for about a year.

EA: They were not that large. They were stored in the, well, this southwest room, also known as the priests’ room. It must be mentioned there.

GV: So, that room was in use?

EA: Yes, it was.

GV: Alright, let’s now talk about Turks. I have a question about Semavi Eyice.

EA: Go ahead, dear.

GV: Once again, this is something that I have come across in the correspondences. Coinciding with the correspondence between you and Underwood in 1963, Underwood was planning on working in Fenari Isa Mosque. You tell him that he can see Semavi Eyice, who is a friend of yours, about it. You tell him that he could, well, you tell him that you will let him know of his response. How was your relationship with Semavi Eyice?

EA: Semavi, dear, is a professor at Istanbul University. He is still alive.

GV: I know.

EA: Anyway, he was a friend of mine from Istanbul University – because, well, I knew most of the people who worked at the Archaeological Museum. I would visit frequently since childhood. And so, Semavi was there and also – anyway, it’ll come to me now. That is how I knew him.

GV: Was he a close friend of yours?

EA: No, he was not. I visited his apartment a couple of times. I mean, he was not especially a good friend. He had given me his books as presents, and things like that.

GV: But Mr. Semavi had no affiliation to Dumbarton Oaks?

EA: No, he has no affiliation.

GV: Yes, so, I will now get into the projects of Sarachane and Kalenderhane.

EA: Harrison!

GV: Yes. I –

EA: This is what you just got into: Harrison.

GV: Martin Harrison.

EA: Martin Harrison.

GV: And Lee Striker, of course, first in Bodrum Mosque, and later in Kalenderhane. This –

EA: Lee Striker. Do you know Lee Striker?

GV: Lee Striker is my thesis advisor. I did my Ph.D. with Lee Striker.

EA: Okay, then, in that case.

GV: No, no, please, do tell!

EA: If you know him, then there’s no need.

GV: Yes, but this will be recorded.

EA: Don’t record it.

GV: Why not?

EA: Nothing. It’s alright. Don’t worry.

GV: [Laughs] I wish I hadn’t told you.

EA: No.

GV: How about Martin Harrison?

EA: Martin Harrison, my child, was – I think he was at the University of Manchester, I am not sure. He was doing the excavations at Kalenderhane. No, no, not at Kalenderhane, at Sarachane. He didn’t have much to do with, well, with Dumbarton Oaks. And that was all there was. We didn’t have much to do with each other. I think I was the one who got their permission. I helped him out, etc. And then he, the poor soul, died.

GV: Yes. But it seems that you had also helped Lee Striker – in Bodrum Mosque.

EA: As well as in Kalenderhane.

GV: So, did you use to visit those sites?

EA: No, no, he would work there by himself. I mean I had helped Lee Striker, sort of, indirectly.

GV: Yes.

EA: He is alive, isn’t he?

GV: Yes, he is.

EA: How old is he now?

GV: How old?

EA: He must be in his late seventies.

GV: He is in his late seventiess right now, yes. Yes. So, you helped in the acquisition of the permission for this Sarachane project, as you have mentioned.

EA: Yes I did.

GV: But you were also helping to provide work force and equipment.

EA: No, I did not help out in Sarachane. That, Harrison used to do by himself.

GV: He did himself – but then how about the supplement of the missing photographs, payments? Did you not have anything to do with those?

EA: No. Well, you mean for Sarachane, don’t you?

GV: For Sarachane.

EA: No, no.

GV: Nothing to do there, either, then.

EA: And then there is this Zeyrek Mosque. You haven’t gotten to that yet.

GV: If you could tell us about it now that you have mentioned it – and that you have said you didn’t do much at Sarachane.

EA: No. In Zeyrek Mosque, it was Peter Megaw. His name should be mentioned there.

GV: Yes.

EA: His real name was Arsenal Megaw, but they called him Peter.

GV: Why is that?

EA: I don’t know.

GV: Nobody knows.

EA: Peter’s real name was Arsenal Megaw. He came here for a year as an assistant to – I do not know for what. It was at the – the floor of Zeyrek Mosque was uncovered. The floor there was this very beautiful – there is a term for it, “opus sectile,” or something. They uncovered that floor. Many glass, stained glass, were found there. This stained glass is very important. Peter worked on those there for a long time – because, in that period – apparently, it was thought that stained glass had not yet existed in that period. So, that was something. And then something rather strange happened. It was in the Kariye mosque. George Forsyth came and did an excavation there in the – this excavation revealed the – the reliquary box there. So, the reliquary box was found. It was, like, a lead box. The same excavation also revealed some of this stained class. I am not sure if it was that they couldn’t understand the value of these – this stained glass. I kept some eight to ten kinds, or pieces, of that glass because I am a collector. That is, I took them. The rest were all thrown away. They were chucked away like that. And then later on when they found out that this was very important I gave the pieces I had to Peter Megaw. And so, it was revealed in Kariye that stained glass did exist in that period.

GV: Yes. Anything else that you may remember about Zeyrek?

EA: Honestly, there is – there is another thing I remember from Zeyrek! They excavated this large marble thing with a relief, whose shape I don’t remember exactly. But through that it was understood to have been taken from Sarachane.

GV: How about works at Fenari Isa, did you ever visit –

EA: I know that one, too. There at the Fenari Isa site – there were not many mosaics uncovered there. Some frescoes were found. There, they did – I mean, it was a functioning mosque, anyway. No such big project was carried out there. Only a few frescoes were revealed. For example, here, let me give you one off-the-record: Now, we were doing certain things without asking permission. Because I was friends with Mr. Feridun. Now, for permission, Mr. Feridun didn’t want to know, because if he did he would have to act. He didn’t want to know; he condoned. Now, for example, Paul, tactless as usual, would tell him, we are doing these things because you gave permission! Mr. Feridun would turn a blind eye. And so, I would negotiate between the two of them.

GV: Were these happening in Fenari Isa?

EA: This would be happening more generally.

GV: In general.

EA: In general.

GV: Since you know Majewski, did you also help him with the discovery and transportation of this – this well-known fresco? It was a very small project.

EA: I must have. I don’t really remember.

GV: Okay, so who else do you remember from that time? How about Cyril Mango?

EA: Cyril Mango was a friend of mine from high school. We were in high school – I graduated from the English High School for Boys here, and so did Cyril Mango. He is a high a school friend of mine. Later on, I went to St. Andrews University and Cyril Mango did so too, after me. Anyway, so – he would visit here. He would come and go and when he would come I would see him, etc. He is younger than me. He is 82 years old, and I am 89.

GV: So you are old friends?

EA: Well, old acquaintances. He is a very good scholar.

GV: Is there anything else that you would like to mention about Cyril Mango?

EA: No, nothing. He was, like, cynical and extremely intelligent. And so – A very good scholar.

GV: You have mentioned Ihor Ševčenko.

EA: Ševčenko. Ševčenko is strange – the way he is.

GV: Yes. And Martin Harrison?

EA: To be honest, he was like, well, a happy school-boy! [Laughs] He was a very nice gentleman. We did not have much of a friendship.

GV: Megaw?

EA: Megaw was a typical “English civil servant.” He had worked as the director of a museum in Cyprus at some point. What else – he used to find our work a little strange. He would – “It’s rather a strange institution,” he would say, and could never figure it out.

GV: How about David Winfield?

EA: David Winfiled. He never worked with us. He had worked mainly in the Sumela Monastery. Anyway – he came here. He is a bit of a bad lot. Well, I mean, I say this off-the-record. There – I will not say any more.

GV: And Robin Cormack? Did you ever run into him?

EA: No, never. I am not sure if he visited here.

GV: He had worked at Hagia Sofia with Hawkins for a short period of time.

EA: That must have been before me.

GV: He was –

EA: I don’t know him.

GV: Alright. And you will not say anything about Lee Striker?

EA: No, there’s nothing to be said! You know him very well, at any rate.

GV: We were curious about what you might know.

EA: No, that’s alright.

GV: Alright.

EA: For example – let’s take, for instance, the apartment in Cihangir. I was responsible for its – he would call from there to tell me how it had not been properly cleaned. I mean, he is a bit of a rude one.

GV: Now, about Van Nice – I think you were pretty close. You were communicating with each other very frequently.

EA: Honestly, it was through him that I had gotten involved with Dumbarton Oaks to begin with.

GV: What was he like? What were the things that he –

EA: Well, he was working in Hagia Sophia on the – he was making plans. There is not much to say. He had worked, I think, in Iran, before.

GV: In Isfahan.

EA: In Isfahan. He had worked in Isfahan. He had a friend, who – this friend of ours would always tell him “When you were in Abyssinia…,” and he would respond “I was not in Abyssinia, I was in Isfahan.” A couple of months would pass by, and then again: “When you were in Abyssinia…” “I was not.” He would forget and respond. We were, well, we didn’t have much to do with each other. We knew each other. It was because of his friendship with Herbert Muller that we went to do the masons’ marks, in the first place.

GV: And so this work of yours – did Muller take it or –

EA: Muller.

GV: – or was it given to Van Nice?

EA: Nobody was given anything. Van Nice was asking for this, I mean, to be done. And Muller was interested – Muller is a historian. I have some eight or nine books of his. We had travelled together in Anatolia and things like that. He is not an archaeologist at all. We were doing that – recording the masons’ marks for fun.

GV: No, but this “masons’ marks” document is in our archives. I don’t think that there are any names written on it. So, apparently, you made it together with Muller.

EA: I made it with Muller.

GV: There is a draft of it there.

EA: We would do this thing with this black material on paper, and the mark would come out.

GV: Yes, so you were doing that. Alright. Did you meet Van Nice’s family? Were they –

EA: Yes, I met them. But I can’t remember, really.

GV: You don’t remember much.

EA: Her name was Betty, wasn’t it?

GV: Betty Van Nice.

EA: Betty Van Nice.

GV: But they seem to have stayed here for a while and their children went to Robert College.

EA: That may be right.

GV: You don’t remember them. Then, now, quite a number of students from, well, from Robert College seem to have worked at projects of Dumbarton Oaks, especially those of Van Nice. Did you help organize –

EA: No, I never helped with that.

GV: You never helped Van Nice?

EA: No, not that. I knew some of those students; they were my students. I mean, that was a coincidence. It had nothing to with me finding them or anything.

GV: Who are they? – their names.

EA: I don’t remember at all.

GV: You don’t remember. But, from what we see in the correspondence, you would go and visit the works of Turkish archaeologists. And then you would write your impressions of them to Van Nice. Among these commentaries, the one that attracted my attention the most was Muzaffer Ramazanoglu’s work. You didn’t –

EA: Well, Ramazanoglu was the director of Hagia Sofia. He was a strange man. He was a very vain and rude man! We didn’t have much to do with each other. I tend to avoid conflict with people. We didn’t have much in common. And so, he was, at some point – Paul and I would go and we would sit there. Ramazanoglu hadn’t started working at Hagia Sophia, yet. He would come by and – strike dully into conversation and leave like that. I mean, I didn’t have much to do with him.

GV: Alright.

EA: I knew Mr. Feridun better. Feridun Dirimtekin, that is. Feridun Dirimtekin was a former military officer. And also – I mean, he was a military officer in the old days. But he was interested in things Byzantine. He even published a book entitled “Fortifications of Istanbul.”

GV: And so, these visits of yours to excavation sites – from what I can gather you were visiting them regularly over the winter. You were checking what was being done and how these buildings were. Was that a result of your own personal interest?

EA: Well, I mean, like, it was help. I was a full-time professor here in the winter, anyway. I would go and have a look on some Tuesday afternoons, when I would be free.

GV: Alright. I had seen, on a letter that you had written to Underwood, “Ercument Atabay, Pantologist” in the letterhead section.

EA: Pantologist. [Laughs]

GV: What’s the story behind that?

EA: Well, I came up with this made-up word, “pantologist,” on my own. It means “a person who deals with all things.” I came up with that word. I had even had it printed on paper – I got printed this mailing paper that read “Humanistic Studies Research Institute, Ercument Atabay, Pantologist.” There are some interesting anecdotes about that. [Laughs] So, this is how it came about.

GV: What are the stories?

EA: I don’t mean any story as such. But, for example, we needed this one book by Oxford Press. And they would not give it to us – I mean, sell it. And so I removed this “pantologist.” I’ll show you.

GV: Sure.

EA: Instead I wrote…I sent it as just “Humanistic Studies Research Institute.” And they sent it. They sent the book.

GV: [Laughs] When did you adopt this – this title? When did you declare yourself a “pantologist”?

EA: My child, this was sixty years ago. [Laughs] sixty to seventy.

GV: We were very intrigued by it.

EA: And no one would know what it does there, because I made it up.

GV: [Laughs]

EA: You know there is this word “polymath.” “Pantologist” corresponds to that.

GV: Have you ever visited Dumbarton Oaks?

EA: Yes, I have.

GV: Would you tell us about it?

EA: In 1966 –

GV: Yes? Were you invited?

EA: No, dear. Robert College had sent me for a conference. It was at Bennington College. And that was my first time in the United States. That was also when I went to Washington to see Paul. He was – I visited the Dumbarton Oaks building. It was – well, it was Grierson who showed me around the building.

GV: Philip Grierson.

EA: Philip Grierson that is.

GV: Who did you meet while you were there?

EA: I didn’t meet anyone.

GV: What were your impressions of Dumbarton Oaks?

EA: Well, Philip Grierson was an English person with a wonderful sense of humor. “Look,” he said, “let me show you the most crucial section of this building.” And he took me to the boiler room of the building. “Here is something that you cannot find anywhere else,” he told me, “you can leave out the rest.” Because, really, it was something – like a factory.

GV: Alright, but you had helped Dumbarton Oaks substantially, and yet, they never officially invited you?

EA: No, no, no, what would they do that for? I didn’t have anything to – I mean I was not a scholar or anything. My – well, my degree is in medieval history.

GV: Alright. I have a couple of more personal questions. Again related to something that I’d come across in a correspondence, something that involves both Ernest Hawkins and Dumbarton Oaks. It is referred to as “Jan affair.”

EA: What affair?

GV: “Jan,” as in the proper name, J-A-N. “Jan affair.” I think that this person had also worked at the Byzantine Institute. They considered suing Dumbarton Oaks about a particular affair, but then decide not to.

EA: Who is that?

GV: I do not know. I was wondering if you did.

EA: I don’t know either.

GV: “Jan affair?”

EA: I don’t know, my dear.

GV: You don’t remember. Alright, then. Certain minor problems with permission at Hagia Sophia – that is certain minor problems regarding work at Hagia Sophia arise in the year 1965 as a result of the turbulent political situation in Turkey. And in a letter to Underwood you write that the movement to turn Hagia Sohpia into a mosque revived. What are the things that you remember from this period?

EA: I sincerely do not remember.

GV: Alright. You have mentioned ARIT a couple of times.

EA: Who?

GV: ARIT, American Research Institute in Turkey.


GV: It seems that you were quite involved at the time of its establishment. You were even giving advice to Underwood about where precisely ARIT should be set up.

EA: Underwood did not have much to do with ARIT – not with ARIT.

GV: What was your role there?

EA: The director there – they all would know me, anyway. ARIT had, well, it had two directors. One of them was Heath Lowry, and I knew him. And then there was the current director, Tony Greenwood. And his father was a colleague at Robert College. That’s all, not much to it.

GV: But during its establishment, too, you –

EA: No, no.

GV: There is not much. Alright. Do you remember Rustem Duyuran?

EA: Very well indeed!

GV: Could you tell us about him, then, because –

EA: Rustem Duyuran. Rustem Duyuran was the director of the Archaeological Museum. He got his education in Germany. To put it colloquially, he was out of it. He was also interested in, well, drinking. This guy would always start up fights and things like that. Between him and Paul, and because Paul was a little tactless, I would be the go-between. I would intentionally call him “big brother Rustem” so that it would be easier to make up with him after a potential fight – because if you call someone your big brother, then you do make peace with him. But otherwise – Rustem – for example, let me tell you a little something: One day at the – there was this Nezih Firatli who was working at the Archaeological Museum. Nezih Firatli. He was a very good archaeologist, and a good friend. He, too, passed away. He would, you know, help us. And then, well, we were to borrow something, I now forget what it was, from the Archaeological Museum. We needed Mr. Rustem’s permission. Now, Mr. Rustem would not be there in the mornings. And so, I told Paul to leave his card on his desk, so that we could later claim to not have found him in his office. And that way we could get the “little permission” from Nezih. Then we went back one afternoon when Mr. Rustem was there. What would Paul do but tell him: “We left that card intentionally in order to be able to say that we didn’t find you there.” The man’s face was like – “Big brother,” I said, “don’t dwell on it, you understand the situation here.” And so we resolved it. Paul had such gaffes to make.

GV: But I think that Rustem Duyuran worked in Anatolia.

EA: He did. He was the director of the Archaeological – of the museum in Izmir. He had some – but he was a strange man. At Sarachane, for example, some, well, some marble pieces with monograms were found. I told Mr. Rustem to get some of those. “They don’t concern us,” he said. Nezih and me, we would take those to the Archaeological Museum at night in order to, well, salvage them. Anyway, so Mr. Rustem was an odd man like that. On the corner there, in Beyazit, there is a bath-house, under which there are reliefs from the Theodosian period. These reliefs are very precious because there are very few of them that date back to the Theodosian period. I went to Mr. Rustem and told him, “Big brother, just give me two men and I will take care of the money. Let’s remove these pieces, and take them to the archaeological museum.” “Just leave it!” he said – things like that. And then all of those pieces got broken. I had actually taken pictures of those. There must be photographs of those pieces at Dumbarton Oaks.

GV: What happened to the photographs that you had taken?

EA: I gave them away. I didn’t take many pictures.

GV: You were giving them away?

EA: No, I wasn’t taking them. Larry Majewski would take them.

GV: Yes.

EA: I’ll show you the ones I have, but they are all taken by Larry. I would only do the enlargement. With a friend of mine, we’d enlarge photographs.

GV: So you were taking the films and –

EA: No, no, they – we – these were for me.

GV: For you, but you were enlarging them in a dark room?

EA: Yes.

GV: And this was in the Yildiz Apartment?

EA: No, no, it wasn’t there, dear. This was at a friend’s house. We were doing this for ourselves, not for them.

GV: So, for yourself. Well, there is also this story about the removal and installment of the bronze doors of Hagia Sofia.

EA: Let me tell you about that. Those doors – they are very old. I mean, they are from the Hellenistic period. Someone named Carlo Bertelli came from Italy for – to clean and restore those doors. And, well, Saban had an older brother, his name was Salih. He was unbelievable. Van Nice used to call him – he would say, “He’s a medieval man.” He would lift the enormous door by himself. How would he do it, how come? Well, anyway he – those doors were cleaned, and crosses and things were exposed. This was Bertelli’s work. Also there happened something tragic. They put some of that bronze on the floor and they got stolen. Whoever stole them was unknown. I mean, I guess, they were handed over to the guy who roasted chickpeas.

GV: I think, their installment was also –

EA: Bertelli took care of that. The door was not completely removed, to begin with. The doors were not removed.

GV: They were not?

EA: No, no, no. There was no way!

GV: Yes, they really are very large. I think, also, that there was this group of Armenian artisans at the covered bazaar – one or two artisans. Did you –

EA: I don’t know about them.

GV: You don’t know about them. Alright. If I told you names of some people whom we don’t know, perhaps you could –

EA: Go ahead.

GV: First is this Tahsin Bey that we have come across. I thought that it may be Tahsin Oz, but –

EA: Ha! No, his name was not Tahsin, though. His last name was Oz. I think he was the director of the Archaeological Museum.

GV: Was he? Do you know anyone by the name of Tahsin?

EA: I don’t personally, but I think this may be him.

GV: Boris Ermeloff?

EA: I don’t know him. Wait, he was a friend of – the one you mentioned – of Mister Walker’s.

GV: Ermoloff?

EA: Ermoloff.

GV: A friend of Walker’s.

EA: I mean, he was staying with him.

GV: He was staying at Walker’s. Yes, okay.

EA: I think, perhaps, that he was the Polish Ambassador. He was – well, there was this great antiques dealer here by the name of Zakos.

GV: An antiques dealer.

EA: And so, he used to have very large pieces. This antique – this guy goes and buys a coin, a very expensive coin, from him. He shows this coin to Whittemore in the evening. Whittemore tells him that it’s a fake and tells him to return it. And so, he takes it back to Zakos. “For the life of me,” says Zakos, “this is not a fake!” “No.” and so Zakos gives him back his money and half an hour later Whittemore shows up and says: “Where’s that coin that Ermeloff brought you? – and “don’t sell these things to illiterate persons after this.” He pays him and places the coin in his pocket.

GV: Anybody by the name of Richard or Robert Gregory?

EA: I don’t know them.

GV: You don’t know them. Alexander Piankoff?

EA: Alexander?

GV: Piankoff.

EA: I don’t know them.

GV: Nor him. Alright. Jack Loveless?

EA: [No response.]

GV: No. Okay, we come across the names of certain people that we think were workers: Halil, Hayyam.

EA: They were laborers – just masons, you know.

GV: Yes, alright. Then there is a person named Halasi Khun.

EA: Halasi Khun. I know him, but – he is a well-known person – but I can’t recall who he was.

GV: Yes. Peppa?

EA: Who?

GV: Peppa.

EA: Peppa was the maid at Paul’s apartment. She was a maid.

GV: But she did not work in the Yildiz Apartment, did she?

EA: She worked in the Yildiz Apartment.

GV: So she was there.

EA: She was there. She would stay during the winter, too. She would stay there. She was a kind of a, well, a care-taker. I would take her monthly payment to her. Later on when she quit the job, they got her out of the apartment. There was not much need in the winter in the first place. And Paul Underwood had been sending her – he had been sending a certain amount of money every month until the day he died. And I would take that money to her.

GV: Was Peppa of Greek origin?

EA: Yes, she was Greek. Also half-blind.

GV: Was she? And about Koco – we have already talked about the two Kocos. We have also come across someone called Nashi, or, perhaps, Naashi.

EA: Nashi. Nashi must have been the brother of this Koco.

GV: Of which Koco, though?

EA: Of the one with the middle name. Well, he was the brother of one of them. The one who was Carroll Wales’ friend?

GV: Gano, Seth Gano, I think…

EA: I have heard his name, but don’t remember him.

GV: You don’t know him. There’s also this person, Mehmet, who constantly comes up.

EA: Mehmet.

GV: He would carry buckets, apparently.

EA: [No response.]

GV: He must have been an unimportant person, then. There are a couple more names, but – McMurray, for example, is one.

EA: [No response.]

GV: You don’t know him either. Yes, alright Is there anything else that you would like to tell? This is it for my questions.

EA: Not really, no. I don’t think there is anything left.

GV: Would Mrs. Atabay like to add anything?

Mrs. Atabay: No, no. I was not in that world actually. And yet, I know most of the names that you brought up here, of course. I mean, I know them as friends.

EA: Let me also give you these – book of visitors to Kariye, with signatures. There are two. Take them both.

GV: I would appreciate it.

EA: You take those.

GV: Are there any – are there any photographs of the workers?

GV: Or your photgraphs –

EA: No, no.

GV: – of that sort? No, okay. I will end the recording now but I would like to show you a couple of photographs of people you may recognize.

EA: Do show!

GV: Alright.