Konya Chamber of Commerce (Konya Ticaret Odası – KTO) from the past to the present
Konya is a city that was located on primarily the historic Silk Road, and other significant trade routes of the times; of high cultural wealth and tourism potential, serving as a bridge between the east and the west.
Konya, housing Çatalhöyük – the oldest center of settlement in history, has been a pioneer in many areas by its history of ten thousand years; and has maintained its feature of being a central city by continuing its leadership in science, culture and civilization, also in economy.
As Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar has said; a capitol is always a capitol. Konya, always assuming a significant mission in the historical process, has served as the capitol of the state that the Seljuks have established by conquering Anatolia and has become a center of highly intense commercial activities of the time. The Anatolian Seljuks period has been a period of glory for the capitol Konya. During this period of nearly two and a half centuries, everywhere in Konya has become full of mosques, madrasas, schools, caravanserais, soup kitchens, hospitals, waterways, bridges, palaces and many other buildings.
In the 13th century, it is one of the most modern and organized cities not only in Anatolia, but also in the world. Especially in the diaries kept by those who have participated in the crusades, it is noted that Konya is a large and wealthy city. By its position as a lively commercial center during this period, established on the major road stretching from one end of Anatolia to the other, Konya has been able to maintain its feature of being a commercial, industrial and cultural center even after the Seljuks.
The emergence of the Ahi-order, which has steered social and economic life during the 13th century when Anatolia was under Turkish sovereignty, in Konya is unique feature of our city. The Ahi-order, which is unmatched in the world, has contributed tremendously to the social order in the social, cultural and economic sense, from the Seljuks period, to the Ottoman period and to the present. By these features, the Ahi-order is an organization that sets an example for the non-governmental organizations of the 21st century.
During the Ottoman period, production in Konya was being realized by artisans, in small workshops. According to the 1889 Annual, the number of stores in Konya at the time was 2078. There were 18 inns, 88 bakeries, 4 apothecaries, 7 restaurants, mills 2 of which ran on petroleum and 29 on water, 1 flood house, 3 tanneries, 1 slaughterhouse, 3 ice houses and 7 caravanserais.
In Konya, nearly all kinds of artisans have served in markets and bazaars. The fact that each group of artisans had a separate street, square or a market place, is an indication that commercial clustering in Konya had started during that period. The most significant ones of these markets and bazaars, which form the foundation of Konya’s commercial life, are the Bedesten, Uzun Çarşı, Muhacir Pazarı (Immigrants’ Bazaar), Ağaç Pazarı (Tree Bazaar), At Pazarı (Horse Bazaar), Buğday Pazarı (Wheat Bazaar), Kadınlar Pazarı (Women’s Bazaar), Saman Pazarı (Hay Bazaar), Aziziye Pazarı (Aziziye Bazaar), Kömür Pazarı (Coal Bazaar) and Odun Pazarı (Wood Bazaar). The oldest industrial products in our province are; woven products, rugs, carpets, silk, linen, coffee mills, pistols, scissors, all kinds of leather and leather products, shoes, linseed-sesame-opium oils and gunpowder.
Following the Reorganization and Constitutional periods, the Ottoman governments, aiming to pursue commercial activities in the western sense, have made attempts to encourage such activities.
Upon all these developments, the Dersaadet Chamber of Commerce is founded on January 20th, 1880 by an 11 articles charter. The first chamber of commerce established in our country is the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce under the name of Dersaadet Chamber of Commerce. Establishment of chambers of commerce outside İstanbul has been after the resolution of the Dersaadet Chamber of Commerce dated November 4th, 1881. According to the resolution reached for the establishment of chambers of commerce also in Anatolia, the resolution to establish the Konya Chamber of Commerce has been made at the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce by the sultan’s edict.
Following this resolution, the Konya Chamber of Commerce has been founded in 1882. The chamber’s history in fact is like an abstract of the social and commercial life of Konya and our country. In the first board of directors of the chamber, nearly half of the twelve-member board is non-Muslim. Following the first four years, the non-Muslims take the majority. In the tenth year of its foundation, i.e. in 1892, the chairman of the board of directors is a non-Muslim. The commercial life in Konya, in line with the developments in the Reorganization and Constitutional periods, is primarily in the hands of minorities.
The European dominance, which has started in the political and economic areas by the Balta Limanı Treaty of Commerce and the Imperial Edict of Reorganization, has also demonstrated its impact in Anatolia. Foreign contacts with the local minorities have also influenced commercial relations. The strength of the minorities, who were perceived as natural allies by the Western tradesmen, in commercial and industrial areas has increased following the Reorganization. It is possible to notice this situation while scanning through the directors’ list of the Chamber of Commerce.
Notwithstanding the population and commercial capacity, Konya is also a city that foreign state missions are interested in, where consulates are established officially. In 1896, Russia and England have consulates in Konya. In 1899, by the establishment of the French Consulate, the number of consulates becomes three. Later on, the German Consulate is added to these three foreign missions.
As of 1908, 130 of the companies founded in the country during the final period of the Ottomans belong to locals, who are not non-Muslim. During that time, the number of companies founded in Konya is 19. The “İktisadi Milli Bankası”, which is the bank with the highest capital of the period, has been established in Konya concurrently with the foundation of these 19 companies. In 1909, the Konya gentry has established a national bank structured as a limited partnership, under the name of Şirket-i İktisadiye-i Milliye, the bank’s name has been changed as Konya Milli İktisat Bankası during World War I. These companies have worked in high solidarity, and have rendered the investment and capital active in the region, that is in Konya and its surroundings.
Konya is on a route, where east-west commercial roads, and north-south transportation roads, thus roads beyond Anatolia, intersect. The arrival of the Berlin-İstanbul-Baghdad route to Konya as of 1896 has been a significant development.
The Konya Chamber of Commerce, as required by its charter of the time, has opened a Commercial Exchange in 1909 at the Konya centrum. The full name of the exchange is "Ticaret ve Sanayi ve Zahire Borsası" (“Commerce and Industry and Cereals Exchange”). The purpose is to "regularize commercial transactions and serve for the country’s progress". By the addition of the chamber of agriculture to the chamber of commerce, that initially housed the chamber of industry in its organization, the minority predominance is reduced.
By the 1920’s, Konya is now on the railroad route extending to Ankara and İstanbul via Eskişehir (north); to Izmir via Afyon (west), and to Mersin, Adana and İskenderun in the south-east direction. These railroads make up the fastest routes that connect Konya to the centers of trade and science. Merchants are sending the goods they buy in İstanbul to Konya by the "Şimendüfer Kampanyası" (“Railway Company”).
In 1920, there are 76 joint stock companies in Anatolia. By 19 joint stock companies, Konya is the province with the highest number of joint stock companies. During the same year, there are 11 joint stock companies in İzmir; 3 each in Aydın, Bursa and Kütahya; 2 each in Kayseri, Ankara and Eskişehir; and 1 each in Erzurum, İzmit, Afyon, Kastamonu, Niğde, Manisa and Trabzon. The Konya Chamber of Commerce has established the commercial secondary school in 1925, and in addition to the chambers, it has endeavored to provide vitality to the commercial life by the first exhibition organized with the exhibition concept of the present.
Until 1926, the Chamber of Commerce continues its activities according to the old law and regulation. In December 1927, six district chambers are connected to the central Chamber of Commerce, and the concept of central administration is reinforced.
After 1950, the chamber is restructured by law and regulation, according to the new era perception.
On April 25th, 1974, the Konya Chamber of Industry is founded and put into operation in an apartment on the 4th floor of the Konaltaş İşhanı, by 165 industrialist members, assembled as 8 occupational groups, and a budget of 200,000 liras.
The oldest known building of the Konya Chamber of Commerce is the two-stories building in Çıkrıkçılar against the Old Tellal Pazarı (Broker Bazaar). It is known to have served from this building from the 1925’s up to 1953. When this building became inadequate, for its expanding number of members and service area, the Konya Chamber of Commerce has moved to the Türk Hava Kurumu (Turkish Air Association) building across the Central PTT building at Kayalıpark in 1954. The chamber has built its own service building on the plot is has purchased across the Metropolitan Municipality in 1983, and has been serving at this building since then.
Today, the Konya Chamber of Commerce, by its 75 Professional Committees and more than 20 thousand members, holds the title of the 6th largest chamber of Turkey.