Çorum Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism

Çorum Culture and Art Magazine

Çorum Culture and Art Magazine

I would like to dedicate this work in remembrance of my dear friend Mahmut TUNABOYLU who was the most colourful and productive figure of Çorum artistic and cultural life. 


Looking at at the history of cities, institutions are the touchstones of replacing the cases.The concept of city gained his identity with theatre in the ancient history of Anatolia. These buildings, all of which are open air theatres and still exist as the unique work of stone architecture and acoustic technique,  serve for culture ,arts and tourism even today. In the 20th century,, one term will also be added apart from theatre. That is cinema. …. The rising independence desire in Anatolia would be crowned by the establishment of Republic. (1923)

Republic created a revolution out of the ashes of an collapsed empire. With the proclamation of the republic in the community who experienced the joy and enthusiasm will build its instutions to create the people of new era.

These buildings are Public Centres in cities, Village Halls in villages, Music Teacher School which is the core of State Conservatory, Turkish Language Institution, Turkish Historical Society. We can name these five as the “Republic’s Five Important Elements”  . This structure is a symbol of Republic which gives importance to humanbeings, culture and arts.

Çorum which used to be an independent territory became a province with the law numbered 191 on 10th April 1924. Even if Çorum wasn’t supported enough by the central government , it would be one of the center of agro-industrialization and urbanization. 

Despite the missing parts, this study is the first written document of cinema which is one of  the universal sign of being a city. I would like to thank to the resource persons who have contributed to this study on behalf of me and the researchers of future: Sefa Yalçın, İhsan Yalçın, Ahmet Naci Özturan, Sami Erhan, Gürcan Bozdoğan, Soner Özdoğan, Atakan Özdoğan and Kaya (İsmail) Üstündağ.

The information that we collected from the people who showed a great effort for the cinemas of Çorum was recorded on written documents for the risk of losing them and a new journey began for them. May their journey be well …….


As a result of the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century, the modern city take its place in cinema history stage. How theatre is one of the principal criteria starting from ancient times, cinema   will be a measure of urbanization and modernity in 20th century. Cinema will not be limited to the capital of modernity such as Paris, Berlin, London, Vienna, it will also quicken the modernization of cities such as Alexandria, Cairo, Bombai and İstanbul.

Those who lead communities notice very quickly how cinema is an important tool to influence and direct people . Thinkers and artists who try to recognize, understand and critisize modern age cannot ignore cinema for the same reason, either.

Walter Benjamin , saying "Then came the film and burst this prison-world asunder by the dynamite of the tenth of a second, so that now, in the midst of its far-flung ruins and debris, we calmly and adventurously go traveling emhphasizes how cinema and 20th century overlap."

Alfred Dublin would also notice very quickly that cinema which  is a need as much as a bread for Berliners. While Mayakovsky accompany Bolshevik cinema with his poems and movies ;  Apollaniere will publish a special magazine for the intoxicating Paris night lights and cinema.

Cinema and city ,being both mechanism and hero of modernity, influence Proust, Beckett, Musil and Kafka’s literature ; Shönberg’s and Mahler’s compositions, Picasso, Dali and Grozs’ paintings It would also define the modern life problems with its own language. While the saying “City life makes people free”   makes a reference to individuation and individuals to remove the pressure on the small circles, modern city life brings loneliness and unhappiness to city individiuals.

We can list the directors  handling these issues as Vertov, Eisenstein, R. Clair, F. Lang, O. Wells, Antonioni, Bergman, Bunuel, Yusuf Şahin, Yılmaz Güney, Lütfü Akad, Metin Errksan, Nuri Bilge Ceylan, Zeki Demirkubuz

That cinema cannot locate itself in social research and criticism in Türkiye does not decrease the value of cinema and modernism. On the contrary, it leaves a discarded area which will enrich urbanization history in our country.

Being one of the most important invention of 20th century, cinema  also has the role as a social and cultural tool to enhance the busy city life.

Cinema was first loved by commons but later it gained its place among the middle class and rich. Cinema also witnessed the modernization of the cities ( İstanbul, Cairo, Tehran, Beirut, Alexandria) while radiating among the commons in time.

Unlike as it is in the West , cinematographic in Türkiye was a privilege for city people until the end of 1950. While cinema, theatre and ballet are entertainment for poor, they were European entertainments for rich. Richness, elegance and politeness almost became synonymous with it.

We can see that cinema came to a point where it can represent the Turkish community 50-60 after its invention. In the end of 1920 , the number of movie theatres in İstanbul was 35, and the audience number would reach to 3 million.

Cinema audience in Türkiye are mostly the ones from city who adopt the Kemalist Modernization. Atatürk, as a leader of Turks, also went to the cinema in Ankara and İstanbul to show that women and men can watch a movie together.

However, we can’t say that Kemalist Modernization showed great interest in cinema as much it did to the other western issues. Even the people used to be encouraged to go to the cinema during the Public Houses period (1932-1950) , it shouldn’t be ignored that projector or the movies couldn’t be found easily.

How Muhsin Ertuğrul left his mark in Republic era, cinema is also under his control. Muhsin Ertuğrul’s cinematographic  works are only imitations of western movies in the side of Republic.

Apart from European and American cinema, Egyptian cinema would also be imitated. After a while, it would be suggested that the Egyptian movies should be banned.

The common sense in Turkish movies were using the European characters as legends. Until 1960s, Turkish cinema lovers both from rural areas and cities were satisfied with the imitation films of  Hollywood. These years are times when big halls such as İstanbul, İzmir and big cities radiate to the other cities and towns.

As a result of the spread of cinema all around Anotolia, Cinema of Yeşilçam , as it would be named in the course of time, would make a big profit. Because the profits are transferred to the other sectors, the cinema sector couldn’t turn into instutions. As a result of this, widespread use of television will decrease the number of Yeşilcam Movie audience. Even though the crisis was tried to be recovered with  sex films glut, the number of audience kept on decreasing day by day.

In the crisis period, the number of the films shot downed to decimal numbers. Cinema was in a vegetative state after the establishment of private tv channels. The cinema theatres were changed into business centres, depots and shopping arcades. This situation kept same until the end of 1990. Multiplexes were opened in malls in city centres. Multiplexes which are described as the airplane carrier of American Cinema by K. Feigelson would surround the cities and suburbs very fast.

The cinema policy of America both made big profits and supply a political cultural education to the world people who were in the processs of globalization.

When we came to the years of 2000 , the American cinema tended to radiate in Anatolian cities. A new era started for modern dream house cinema in Anatolian cities.

In this era, American cinema put an end to European. Only the European cinema? No. Apart from few people who can watch cinema festival in İstanbul, it impossible  to watch the good samples of world cinema in Türkiye. It is impossible to watch a Mauritanian, Portugal, Finnish, Indian, Egyptian and Syrian films in Türkiye.


 There used to be a cinema theatre in the building whose downstairs are still shops and which served as Hotel Konak. This building belonged to Special Provincial Administration. This structure is the first cinema of Çorum. The cinema named Şark Cinema was constructed with a concrete skeleton and its balcony is made of wood. Those who knew those times say that this building had 400 seats. Sami Erhan, who has been a cinema owner for 40 years , says that this cinema is a small model of Opera Cinema in İstanbul Kadıköy.

This building was bought by Ramis Ebil and Ali Sıkı and it served as an important accomodation under the name of Konak Hotel.

1935-1950 are the years when public houses left a mark in Republic history. Present day Municipal Building used to be Public House in those years. We learn from Çorumlu magazine that the first films were showed in this building. ( the magazine of 15th July 1938 – 4th volume )  In this magazine, it was emphasized that “ Cinema had a great impact on community manners.” In this month, 4 films were on show. “ They were “The Testament of a Doctor” ,  “The Gardens of The God” , “Atlantic” ,  “Monte Cristo” , .  We learn the film showed in July 1938 from the fifth volume of  15th August 1938. They are “Bozamboğ”, “With Joy”,   “ Je Anita” , “ Baghdad Road” , “ Knockout” . The films on show in August 1938 were : “ Black Beauty”, “Shubert’s Love” , “ The Baghdad Nightingale”


In 1940s, İhsan and Selim Yalçın brothers are the owners of Güven Store in Eğridere Shopping Centre. They sell radio, watch and haberdashery.

They founded a cinema with the suggestion of Yusuf Akçura who did the same job in İstanbul. They bought 16mm cinematograph from Yusuf Akçura and they also made him their partner. They attained the films from Yusuf Akçura as well.

Special Provincial Administration held an auction to rent the Şark Cinema for 500 lira a year. İhsan Yalçın is the only person to participate in auction. Cinema was rented for 505 lira. Yalçın family members became the most famous people of Çorum cinema history.

  Yalçın Family bought the present day Uzun Inn where there is Metropol Store in Eski Ankara Street for 13500 liras. (1942) 5500 of the total amount was paid in cash and the rest would be paid in two years. Just as the collobaration of the building began, the partners of the building changed their idea to sell the building. They also requested their 8000 lira in cash. Yalçın family sold the ruins of the building and paid the money back. By the way, Yalçın Family changed a nearby cafe into cinema and started to work there.  

In 1949 the construction of Yalçın Cinema began. The cinema whose  project was drawn by Fahri Meroğlu started to serve in 1951. The first film on show was “Gone With The Wind” .  From then on, 35 cinematograph started to be used. The Cinema Theatre was 550-600 seated. When the wooden balcony was converted into concrete , the capacity reached to the 700-750 seats.

While the construction of the building was going on, a stone sculpture of a lion was found and is exhibited in Çorum Museum.

Yalçın Cinema continued to serve upto 1992 and it will be the last to be closed down after the crisis. In addition to this, in the garden near Yalçın Cinema Theatre, a summer cinema served under the same name.


Yalçın Family ( İhsan and Salim Yalçın Brothers)  bought the present day Konak ZD Restaurant used as a restaurant in Azap Ahmet Street in 1957. The garden of the mansion was exploited between 1958-1959.

In 1963, Saray Cinema started to be built after buying some small houses nearby. The project of the cinema was designed by architect Turan Ilgaz. ( Prof. Dr. Turan Ilgaz is also the architect of present day State Theatre and known as “ Culture Hall” by people.

Saray Cinema Theatre started to serve with the film “ Bouncer’s Squad” . With 700 seats inside and 500 on the balcony, it has 1200 seats. It also serves for concerts besides movie shows.

The crisis of 1980 in film industry would  inevitably affected Çorum. In mid- 1980s, the hall part of cinema was changed into wedding hall. After renovating the balcony, it continued to serve as a cinema. We learn  from the recordings of  Chamber of Trade and Industry  that the Saray Cinema Theatre was closed down on 13th January, 1987. 


Turan Cinema is the place which was run by Ahmet Naci Özturan in Çepni Quarter Pertev Bey Street No: 6.

The cinema work which was run by Yalçın Family became more colourful after Ahmet Naci Özturan got involved in the industry. They started to compete.

Ahmet Naci Özturan started to run Güneş summer cinema , which is present day Bahçeli Gıda Market which is in Baha Bey Street.

Turan Cinema is the electricity central building which was used to be known as motorhouse by people. Its owner was Mehmet Kaynak. Fahri Meroğlu and Nafiz Alaybeyoğlu designed its project to change it into a cinema. The cinema started to serve on 23rd April, 1954. The first film was “ Ezo Gelin”.

While Ahmet Naci Özturan brought competition in cinema sector, the city met the term of advertising. Kaya (İsmail) Üstündağ who used to walk through streets with posters and shout says : “ Naci brought advertising to Çorum.” Kaya Üstündağ   says that the posters which pinned on the doors of the cinema and called as “Fener” were also drawn by A. Naci Özturan

Turan Cinema was closed down in 1975. After one year of closure , the building owners ran it under the name of  Rüya Cinema. After a while, it was changed into a bakery by its new owners. In the following years, the place of demolished building is occupied by a  dormitory which belongs to National Youth Foundation.

Ahmet Naci Özturan registered Chamber of Trade and Industry on 15th March , 1957. His registry continued till 25th June, 1988.

Ahmet Naci Özturan says while he was running cinemas in Çorum, he was also  running cinemas in Osmancık, Alaca, Dodurga , İskilip and Hamamözü.


The source person is Gürcan Bozdoğan 

The building which used to  serve as Yimpaş Shopping Center until the 2002 Autumn in Ankara Street, is the place which was built by Bozdoğanlar Unlimited Company and served as Cinema Özgür. The Structure and Use Permits belong  Atilla Bozdoğan. The construction began in 1971 and it was designed by  Civil Engineer Salih İrem.

Cinema Özgür started to serve with a concert on 24th May 1973. The building is a small model of Arı Cinema in Ankara in terms of interior design. The cinema has 800 seats inside and 500 on the balcony.

Cinema Özgür was opened with a concert by Ekrem Bora, Kamuran Akkor and Vasfi Uçaroğlu Orchestra.

In 1980s, The crisis of cinema and the widespread use of television caused Sinema Özgür to close down in 1982.


In Baha Bey Street, there used to be City Club in the place of present day Bahçeli Gıda. It was one storey building and its terrace served as Summer Cinema.This cinema is run by Ahmet Naci Özturan.


Cinema Zafer is among the summer cinemas of Çorum. It is still near the Jewellery Shops and it is an open-air cinema which has the entrance next to Ahlatçı Exchange Office.


In Çorum, there are 12 cinemas , 3 of which are in city centre and 9 of which are in other towns. One of these cinemas is summer (open-air) cinema.


Mecitözü YENİ CINEMA (Tepebaşı)
OSMANCIK YILDIZ CINEMA (Both summer and winter)
ORTAKÖY There is no a permanent cinema. It is open one day a week.  

Conversation with Ahmet Naci Özturan 

We talked to A.Naci Özturan, the most colourful figure of Çorum’s cinema history. He said: “The cinema referred as  Hittite Cinema in 1968 City Almanac was  originally the Grand Hittite Cinema. I  ran Atçı Baki’s cafe as a summer cinema and I constructed its walls to change it into winter cinema. Its name was Yeni Cinema. There was another cinema run by Yahya Bulut in Alaca in 1975. Its name was Bulut Cinema. Uğur Cinema in Sungurlu was run by Mayor Haydar Emrali’s son Uğur Emrali. Yeni Cinema in Mecitözü was run by Ali Zeki Emiroğlu from Amasya. Yeni Cinema in İskilip was run by Fahrettin Ünalan. I also ran a cinema in İskilip named Turan Cinema. Hisar cinema which was for both summer and winter was run by Mahmut Çörekçi in 1970. I ran a Zafer Cinema in Dodurga in 1975. ”

Cinema Demir has been serving in Çepni Quarter Hıdırlık Street No: 15 since 1998. Its owner is Ruşen Demir who has another cinema in Merzifon under the same name.

The first part of Özdoğanlar Cinema in Baha Bey Street was started to be constructed in January 2000. When its  construction finished on 15th June 2000,  it started to serve with the film “Bye Bye” on 30th June 2000. The capacity of the hall is 237 and the 72-seat-first and second hall is still under construction. Mobile Cinemas were planned to be opened on September 2003. All parts of Özdoğan Cinema are air-conditioned.  

The technical Qualities of Özdoğanlar Cinema

Hall 1 Dolby 5+1
Hall 2-3 Dolby 5+1
Sound Power:
Hall 1 13.500 Watt
Hall 2-3 6.000 Watt

The Number of Speakers
Hall 1 21
Hall -3 15

Curtain Size:
Hall 1 3.5x8 meter
Hall 2-3 2x4.6 meter
There is also Türkel 98 Projection Device in all the halls.


Çıkrık Village is like a teacher production center of Çorum. Educationist – writer Muzaffer Gündoğar is from Çıkrık. We talked to the retired teacher and cinema lover Mehmet Akbulut who still works as a projectionist.

G. ERYÜKSEL : Can you tell us about yourself? How did you get involved in cinema?

Mehmet Akbulut : I was born in Çıkrık Village which was the part of Mecitözü  in 1949. (It is now part of  City Centre). I finished 4th and 5th class of primary school in Çorum Tanyeri Primary School. In 1960, I met cinema in those years. In those days, there were Yalçın and Turan Cinemas in Çorum. I can say that I didn’t miss any films.

After secondary school, I graduated from the Teacher Training High School. (1969-1970) In the school diary, my friends wrote these words : “ He will saveTurkish cinema and  his statue will be built in Yeşilçam.He is the master of Turan Cinema…”

I started teaching in Domu (Budakören) village of Çorum. I missed some films while I was in village. However, I always went to Çorum to watch movies. I spent my summer and term holiday watching movies in Çorum.

G.ERYÜKSEL: How did you become a cinema entrepreneur ?

Mehmet AKBULUT : My biggest dream was to run a cinema. But, I didn’t have enough capital for this. I haven’t had so far. …My love against cinema has never decreased. While I was working as a teacher in my village Çıkrık, I decided to open a cinema. There wasn’t a cinema even in Mecitözü town. İsmail Eryaşar who was working in PTT of Turhal helped me buy a cinematograph. It was 16mm device. I rented the village cafe. It was time to find a film. I used to rent films 3-4 times from Dar Film Company in Samsun. I played each of these films for two days. The rent of colour film was 350 lira and the rent of black-white film is 250 lira. The ticket price was 20 lira first , then I made it  25. I found a film in the department of Educational Materials of Public Training Center. It was Yılmaz Karakoyun’s “ Kızılırmak Karakoyun”….Because I got it free, I showed two films at one time. My cinema adventure continued for one year in Çıkrık Village.

G. ERYÜKSEL : What have you been doing?
Mehmet AKBULUT : My love of cinema has never decreased. I am a retired teacher now and  I still live with cinema. When they opened the  Özdoğanlar Cinema, I started working as a projectionist. I still dream of establishing my own cinema theatre.


The building, known as the municipal council building today (2004) , was built in the beginning of 1970s (during the presidency of Hamit Duran) was constructed after being tendered.

Like a last word….

Çorum started 21st century with a new cinema.. Özdoğanlar Cinema…The lack of cinema period in the second half of the 1980s and 1990s ended. Cinema Demir – A started to serve even if he couldn’t embrace all the people. There weren’t still cinemas in towns. It was announced on the newspapers that two cinemas were going to be built in Bahar Shopping Centre which was situated in Eşref Hoca Street. Sefa Yalçın , the chairman of the company , told us in our interview that the cinema would be two parts with 159 seats and the name of the cinema will most probably be the “Cinema MB”. I also learned that the sound system would be Dolby Digital System. 

Yalçın Family still goes on its mission in 21st century. despite the   increase in  the population, education and agriculture-based industrialization in economy compared to 1930-1940-1950-1970 ,  cinema didn’t perform well, which was really interesting.Terrorism experienced in the second half of 1970 and widespread use of television are some of the factors.The modern city people model which was created with Republic and the revolutions started to  change. Cities faced with migration from nearby cities. Çorum experienced the same. This changed the sociocultural life of cities. Cinema and theatre are still the symbol of city life style. 

References  :
Çorum 1968 City Almanac
Kentte Sinema Sinemada Kent- Varlık Magazine October 2003, İstanbul.
AKBULUT Günay – Modernization of İstanbul and Cinema– Varlık Magazine October 2003. İstan-bul.
ERKOÇ Ethem Çorum and its towns in 21st Century. 2001 Çorum
ÖZTÜRK Mehmet, Urban Crisis and Cinema in İstanbul. Varlık Magazine October 2003. İstanbul.