Gizem Baburhan stepped into a tiny house on wheels she rented in the Aegean vineyards and saw the future of Turkey’s COVID-19-ravaged tourism industry.
“This minimalist life offered us priceless peace,” Baburhan said. “I hope in the future, we will own a tiny house and tour the world with a home on our backs.”
The tiny house movement — a fad that gained momentum in the US in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis — appears to have caught on in Turkey during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The unimposing wood and composite metal structures resemble spruced-up sheds on wheels or sawn-off trailer homes.
Yet the Turkish firms that make them say they have barely been able to keep up with demand in the past year.
YAKO Groups chief executive Galip Olmez said that he received only “sporadic orders” after introducing the idea to Turkey in 2017.
“If we compare 2020 with the previous year, the orders have increased 20-fold,” Olmez said without disclosing precise numbers.
Architect Pelin Dustegor said that most of her Casa Lokomotif tiny house company’s clients were “from the tourism industry looking for camping concepts.”
“We had just under 250 orders in all of 2019 and this shot up to 4,500 a month in 2020,” Dustegor said. “There has been tremendous interest.”
Turkey is perhaps best known to global tourists as the place of golden beaches and all-inclusive luxury hotels, but the economic shock of the pandemic and suspicions that people could shy away from crowds for years to come have some Turkish tourism firms revising their plans.
Dustegor said that the tiny houses’ popularity with tourism firms is rooted in their low investment cost and the potential to turn a profit within three-and-a-half years.
The houses can also be parked on land without a building permit because they have the status of a vehicle in Turkey.
People between their late 30s and early 40s also tend to buy them as an investment and then rent them out, Dustegor said.
Caglar Gokgun rents out the tiny house he bought and parked in the middle of a vineyard on the Aegean Sea.
“People will want to stay in nature in small groups rather than at a 500-person hotel,” Gokgun said. “No one will want to wait in line for an open buffet.”
Baburhan said that the New Year holiday she spent with her husband at Gokgun’s vineyard home was like being in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
“We didn’t know what to expect at first, but we found ourselves in a tiny, fully fledged house in the heart of a wonderful vineyard. We quickly got used to the house and felt like we have been living there for years,” she said.
Olmez said that his firm produces homes ranging from 15m2 40m2 — about the size of a small studio or a hotel room.
Their prices range from US$17,000 to US$30,000. It is hard to buy a small house in Istanbul for less than US$70,000.
Clients who want to put down a tiny house on land they already own are responsible for hooking up the water and electricity, while the firm builds the home, and takes care of the furnishings and design.
“We see tiny houses as the future of tourism in Turkey,” Olmez said in his tiny house showroom on the outskirts of Istanbul.
Olmez said that a year of lockdowns has prompted many to reassess the benefit of spending time in concrete apartment blocks.
“Humanity has begun to return to its roots,” said Olmez, as two young women checked out a cabin on wheels in his showroom. “People should not be scared of minimalism. It does not shrink life, but liberates it.”
JUMPING BAIL: The democracy advocate said made the decision after ‘considering the situation in Hong Kong, my personal safety, my physical and mental health’ Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow (周庭), who was jailed over her role in massive 2019 protests, on Sunday said she had moved to Canada and would not return to meet her bail conditions. Chow was one of the best-known young faces of the 2012, 2014 and 2019 protest movements against Beijing’s increasingly authoritarian rule in Hong Kong. She spent about seven months behind bars for her role in a protest outside Hong Kong police headquarters in 2019, when huge crowds rallied week after week in the most serious challenge to China’s rule since Hong Kong’s 1997 handover. On Sunday
TAKING STOCK: It was not yet clear how damaging the espionage, dating to 1981, has been, as authorities are still assessing the situation, the State Department said A former US ambassador to Bolivia has been arrested and charged with spying for Cuba over a 40-year span, the US Department of Justice announced on Monday, detailing a shock betrayal by a suspect who called the US “the enemy.” US Attorney General Merrick Garland laid out the allegations against Victor Manuel Rocha, a onetime member of the White House’s National Security Council now accused of using his positions within the government to support Cuba’s “clandestine intelligence-gathering mission” against the US. The charges against Rocha, 73, expose “one of the highest-reaching and longest-lasting infiltrations of the United States government by a foreign
DARK WARNINGS: If Trump survives his court trials, neither the Supreme Court nor the US Constitution could stop him from becoming president for life, a ‘Post’ column said Former US president Donald Trump on Tuesday declined to rule out abusing power if he returns to the White House after Fox News host Sean Hannity asked him to respond to growing criticism of his rhetoric. The Republican presidential front-runner has talked about targeting his rivals — referring to them as “vermin” — and vowed to seek retribution if he wins a second term for what he argues are politically motivated prosecutions against him. As Trump has dominated the Republican presidential primary, US President Joe Biden has stepped up his own warnings, contending that Trump is “determined to destroy American democracy.” “Under no
Apps and Web sites that use artificial intelligence (AI) to undress women in photos are soaring in popularity, researchers said. In September alone, 24 million people visited undressing Web sites, the social network analysis company Graphika said. Many of these undressing, or “nudify,” services use popular social networks for marketing, Graphika said. For instance, since the beginning of this year, the number of links advertising undressing apps increased more than 2,400 percent on social media, including on X and Reddit, the researchers said. The services use AI to recreate an image so that the person is nude. Many of the services only