ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

The building of the women's teahouse is painted in pink. The teahouse, which stands next to a children's park will open its door by the end of October. DAILY NEWS photo, Hasan ALTINIŞIK
The longstanding tradition of Turkish men spending entire days sipping tea and playing games in coffeehouses has been challenged by a group of women who plan to open their own teahouse in Istanbul’s Kemerburgaz district.
Overlooking a green field where horses graze, the women's “humble” teahouse, painted pink and beige, sits nestled between two luxurious villas, ready to provide a warm and cozy atmosphere for those who knock on its door.
The remarkable project, which gained support from İsmail Kavuncuoğlu, the mayor of Eyüp Municipality, will be completed in two weeks, with an official opening ceremony. The women of Kemerburgaz anxiously anticipate the opening, and have already started filling the teahouse with permission of the municipality.
The women’s teahouse, which will provide local women a place to spend their leisure time, is a great alternative for women who haven’t had the chance to visit the more central locations in Istanbul. Kemerburgaz is a relatively isolated district located on the northwest corner of the city.
The single-story teahouse has started hosting tea parties in collaboration with a nearby children’s park, during which women enjoy chatting and homemade pastries. Having the chance to meet with new faces during these tea parties, Kemerburgaz women will also be able to exchange ideas thanks to activities the municipality plans to host at the teahouse.
“We designed this teahouse as a space for women to develop hobbies, such as wood painting or handicrafts,” Kavuncuoğlu told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Friday.
Noting that the municipality would also like to prepare seminars on a variety of topics such as women’s health, Kavuncuoğlu said they have recently organized a health screening in the neighborhood.
“Thanks to the daily informative meetings arranged by the municipality, further topics such as the domestic violence and children’s health will be covered,” said Kavuncuoğlu, adding that the aim is to raise awareness in the city.
Planning to extend this women’s teahouse application to other neighborhoods, Kavuncuoğlu emphasized that after the official inauguration, the women’s teahouse in Kemerburgaz will be the one of the first of its kind opened in Istanbul.
“We opened the teahouse for women [who were excited about it] during the Ramadan festival. However, the place still lacked some equipment, so we couldn’t officially open it,” said the mayor, adding that they will be ready soon.
The women’s teahouse, which will be run by a company called Esbaş, will become a “tough” rival to men’s teahouses in the area. However, with their fastidiousness and appetizing menu, the women, who have turned the space into a pleasant environment, get the chance to tell their husbands, “I am also at a teahouse.”
Taking the requests of local Kemerburgaz women into consideration, the mayor Kavuncuoğlu said they have been providing classes for women in the neighborhood’s primary schools, as well. “Now, the women are requesting the opening of a children’s nursery,” said Kavuncuoğlu, adding that Kemerburgaz women are enthusiastic about new projects.