Trotsky's house put up for sale in Istanbul

Published: August 1, 2015
The asking price -- a mere $4.4 million (4.0 million euros). PHOTO: COURTESY HURRIYET DAILY NEWS TURKEY

The asking price -- a mere $4.4 million (4.0 million euros). PHOTO: COURTESY HURRIYET DAILY NEWS TURKEY

ISTANBUL: A house on an island off Istanbul’s coast and once a refuge of exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky has bee put up for sale.

The one-and-a-half century old grand pile has 18 rooms, five bathrooms and is spectacularly located. It can be yours, if you can muster the asking price of $4.4 million (4.0 million euros).

Turkish media this week first noted that a standard sales notice had been put out by local estate agents for the property, which was said to have three floors and a total area of 3,600 square metres (38,750 square feet).

The building is on the island of Buyukada off Istanbul in the Sea of Marmara, one of the four Princes Islands that are popular day trips by ferry from the city centre.

The island has traditionally been a place of refuge for exiles, intellectuals, as well as Istanbul’s Christian minorities.

Trotsky, one of the great idealogues of the revolution and the founder of the Red Army, came to Buyukada first in 1929 after being expelled from the USSR by Joseph Stalin.

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Trotsky stayed at the house for several years before continuing his exile elsewhere and was ultimately murdered in Mexico in 1940.

“It’s actually not the first time there has been an attempt to sell this house but no-one wants it,” an estate agent on Buyukada told AFP, asking not to be named.

“Its owner, who lives in Istanbul, has not carried out the necessary works.”

Mustafa Farsakoglu, a former mayor of Buyukada, told AFP that Trotsky had lived for four years in this house after his former residence burned down.

“But it is falling into ruins and needs thorough works,” he said, adding it had no heating.

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“If the Turkish ministry of culture could give the money, it could be bought, renovated and turned into a cultural centre and museum,” he said.

“In any case, it is a classified building and whoever builds it can’t turn it into apartments or a hotel or a restaurant,” he added.

Architectural activists have repeatedly sounded the alarm over the disintegration of heritage in Istanbul, with many buildings simply collapsing due to prolonged neglect.

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