Members of the Doğan family, having worked as professional hairdressers since the time of the Ottomans, want to pass on their 250 year-old family tradition to their future generations.
Adem Doğan (85), a member of the third generation of the Doğan family, shared the unique story of the family that has been practicing the profession of their ancestors for two-and-a-half centuries.
Noting that he is the descendant of "Mustafa the Barber," one of the famous barbers of Ottoman times, Doğan said that the family has continued cutting hair for 250 years.
"My father was called ‘Salih the Barber.' I learned the job from him when I was 10 years old. On the other hand, my older brother Mevlüt Doğan was also trained by our father. I was 17 when my brother performed his military service in 1949. I continued running the business with a partner until it was my turn to join the military in 1952. Two years later, in 1954, we moved to Ankara from Kırşehir. My older brother opened shops in the neighborhoods of Cebeci, Mamak and Küçükesat," he said.
Saying that he worked as a barber for 75 years and trained his children as he worked, Doğan said: "I do not provide barbering services anymore. I have explained to my children that the way we do barbering is not the same as the modern services offered today. The job we do is as meticulous as weaving carpets. Although the equipment used by barbers has changed over the years, we still use tools like the ‘zaza,' a special pair of scissors used by barbers, which are 60 years old. I use the scissors to cut my own beard. If I were to work in a modern barbershop now, I wouldn't know how to use the modern tools, some of which are ordinary products imported from China. These modern tools can only be used for one year, at most. After that, the tools become rubbish. So, I still keep my old tools, and I will never sell them."
Adem Doğan's son, Hüseyin Doğan, 58, graduated from polytechnic and decided that he preferred working as a barber rather than working for the tactical manufacturing company of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), ASELSAN, in the aftermath of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup."I have been busy doing this job since I was eight years old. My son Hakan also works as a barber for our family. I was trained by my father, who also trained my brother, who did not stay with the family business, preferring instead to pursue a different occupation. Now, I continue to provide services alongside my son, and I plan to train my grandchildren as well, if they want to learn. Our family will never give up this sacred occupation. An artisan never gives up his craft or his workshop unless it collapses. On the other hand, in the past we operated six shops and five barbers worked in each of those shops. I provided services to Osman Bölükbaşı until he died. My father, Adem Doğan, served Süleyman Demirel, the ninth president of Turkey, and my uncle, Muhsin Doğan, provided services to Rauf Denktaş, the founding president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus [TRNC]."
A member from the fifth generation of the family, Hakan Doğan, 31, noted that he has been busy working as a barber since his childhood and is pursuing the occupation with more sophisticated methods thanks to the improvements in technology.
Expressing his happiness for the fact that his family has continued the business that began with their ancestors, Doğan said that he wants to transfer the occupation to the following generations.