Ayhan Çetin, a retired teacher residing in the western Turkish province of İzmir's Selçuk district, is requesting the help of officials to develop his model village featuring the elements of a central Anatolian village in the 1950s. Speaking to an Anadolu Agency (AA) reporter, Çetin said he began making his model village with his wife after he retired. He completed the village after 25 years and worked on it 15 hours per day. Çetin said they designed it on their own as well.
Çetin rented a public property in the Pamucak region near the Selçuk-Kuşadası highway to showcase the model village, which reflects the daily life of villagers in Akviran - currently a district of the central Konya province where he was born in 1940 whose name was later changed to Akören. Çetin is now thinking of adding new sections to his village, such as a coffee shop, tailor, mill and rendering plant. "I established 70 percent of the village. I am asking for additional land from the Treasury, yet they have not responded to me for the last five years," he said.
He said he first designed the village over a 500-square-meter area with 1:6 scale modeling and then made the animated villagers and shops in their original forms in his garden. After his retirement, Çetin began to design dolls with his wife to pass the time. Later, he decided to make a model of his village. "Every day, we improved our model and wanted to turn it into a museum. I added new models to it. When we first started, we created small-sized human models representing our village's customs and traditions," he said.
In his model, Çetin reanimated the shops from his childhood village. "We did everything with our own efforts. Nobody helped us. I brought some instruments and objects from my village. The tableware you see here belongs to my house in the village. They date back to the 1950s. You can see my village in all aspects from our saddle-making neighbor Tevfik to the village's shoemaker, carpenter, blacksmith and hammersmith. I also animated our village's women while doing traditional handcrafts," he added. Some model women are weaving rugs, while some others are making ayran (a yogurt drink) and kneading. "I recreated how we lived in this village," he said. Çetin designed the movements of his models according to their tasks. "I placed small engines inside the models. They can move with a remote control or sensor," he continued.
Çetin said the model village was not popular in the beginning; however, now it is known throughout the entire Aegean region and he welcomes visitors from Istanbul and Tekirdağ.
He said he offers his help as a guide to everyone who comes to visit his model village, and said: "Student groups especially show great interest in the model. People usually begin coming here in March. We are very busy throughout April and May, but the season slows down during the first week of June." He said the model village does not currently host many guests as the schools are on holiday. "I gladly offer tours to children because this place shelters the same information as three books. During the busy months, we welcome nearly 50,000 visitors per month," Çetin said.
He said that he has plans to enlarge his model village; however, he added that he cannot apply many of his ideas due to the lack of funds. Çetin has been working hard to rent or buy the 2-decare area, which belongs to the Treasury.
"All preparations are ready for the construction of a rendering plant, tailor and teahouse. I am currently working on a mill, which I will soon put on display for my visitors. I am having a hard time finding a location, though. I have been trying to purchase a 2-decare Treasury area for the last five years. I have tried everything; I told them that I am ready to give the money they want but they said no," Çetin stressed. He said he hopes somebody who is keen on culture hopefully will help him rent or purchase the land so visitors of the model village will be able to observe all aspects of Turkish village life. Çetin also applied to the National Real Estate Directorate in İzmir to rent or purchase the land; however, the authorities informed him that the land can neither be sold nor rented to anyone.