Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The scandal of Topkapi's wannabe 'sultan'

Istanbul's Topkapi Palace is one of the city's most incredible tourist attractions. Full of sumptuous reminders of Turkey's rich Ottoman history, it is a residence fit for a sultan. 

There hasn't actually been a sultan in Turkey since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1922. So perhaps Topkapi Palace Museum director Yusuf Benli thought it was time for a new one.

Topkapı Palace Museum Director Yusuf Benli tried to remove the throne of Sultan Selim III into his own residence
From harem to home: Yusuf Benli decided this throne would look nice in his living room. 

During his tenure as director Benli evidently decided his comfy sofa wasn't grand enough for his residence. He instructed employees to remove the throne of 18th Century Sultan Selim III from the Harem section of the museum and install it in his apartment. Unfortunately the new piece of furniture was too large to fit through the doorway and sat outside in the rain while staff members tried to come up with a solution. 

Topakpi head İlber Ortaylı said a few weeks ago that he was looking into the issue. “Mr. Director [Benli] must have mixed up the housing complex with the Harem — where the throne was originally on exhibit.” To be fair, that's a mistake anyone could make. 

Breakfast at Benli's place was also apparently a grand affair. He has been accused of serving his visitors breakfast on museum pieces - including a Louis XIV-style marble table. 

To add to the mix, further allegations of corruption, unlicensed excavations and discrimination have also been levelled at the former director. 

The palace has seen scandal after scandal in the past year. And with this week's annoucement of Ortayli's retirement, there is more fuel to add to the fire, with Ortayli claiming the palace has been dogged by mismanagement and political bickering.


  1. This article is really worth reading, it has too much details in it and yet it is so simple to understand, Thanks for sharing the picture it has great detail in it and i really appreciate your true artistic work!

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