“Diarna” furniture carpenters stumble in Turkey

Enab Baladi – Special

“She doesn’t have a permanent job and she doesn’t have a good salary.” With these words, Wael Daqqo (26 years old), from the city of Daraya in the Damascus countryside, has the reasons for his reluctance to join the profession of furniture carpentry in Turkey.

The young man, who lives in the Turkish city of Bursa, left the profession he had practiced since childhood, and his city became famous for it, due to its lack of continuity throughout the year, and the lack of financial returns, heading. to upholster furniture as it is a continuous occupation and its monthly income is high compared to his income in Furniture Carpentry.

The carpentry profession has a wide spread in Darayya, and it has accompanied its people who have been displaced from their city for the past ten years wherever they have gone, as it is considered one of the inherited professions of its inhabitants, and a source of income for many of his families.

Payout for other occupations

The distribution of the carpentry profession in the Turkish Stock Exchange does not mean that it is the best profession in terms of financial returns, according to the young man, who explained to Enab Baladi that its popularity in the city is due to the large number of trees and different types of wood.

With the onset of winter, demand decreases and the job market in carpentry dries up, and many workers in the trade lose their jobs, according to the young man, noting that he knows many people who are skilled and professional in the trade, but they do not work in it, and they turn to other professions such as blacksmithing, upholstery and others.

The profession that requires the ability to professionally innovate, innovate and design is not without its dangers. The use of sharp tools in it exposes its workers to danger, and you rarely find a young man working in it without was exposed to physical injuries during his work.

Another young man, Ismail (29 years old), from the city of Darayya, still works occasionally in the carpentry profession, installing doors with his companions and owners of workshops scattered around Istanbul, despite the young man who turned to the delivery service. as a main occupation and a stable source of income for him.

The young man explained to Enab Baladi that the financial return of the carpentry profession is good for the owners of the workshops, but it is not rewarding for the workers, as the profession requires a lot of capital, pointing out that he left work in it due to the high cost of its equipment and requirements, such as the presence of cars to transport workers and wood when some projects are completed in residential complexes.

Since his departure from the city of Daraya in 2016, Ismail entered Turkey and worked in a carpentry workshop in the Esenyurt district of Istanbul, but he was surprised by the effort and pressure placed on the worker, as the profession of creativity, as he described. this, should not turn a person into a “porter”.

The owner of the workshop in which Ismail worked forces the workers to load and transport hundreds of doors, windows and others to housing complexes, without the help of specialized transport workers, which exhausts the worker and takes away from craftsmanship and creativity.

The dangers of the physical occupation left their mark on Ismail’s body, as he lost one of his fingers while cutting and sawing wood, in addition to another injury that caused him to lose part of the fingers of his second lost hand

The young man, who lives in the Fatih district, central Istanbul, visits his colleagues in the profession of the city of Daraya and points out that most of them go to other professions, such as sewing, the expansion of water networks, delivery services and others. .

Present despite the recession

The reluctance of some skilled people of furniture carpentry does not mean that the profession has disappeared, since carpentry workshops are spread in many Turkish states, and some of them specialize in a specific production, such as the equipment of wedding rooms or kitchen rooms and others.

“The smell of raw wood, engraving on it, adjusting it and transforming it into different pieces and manufacturing,” a profession that Alaa (31 years old) loves. He is the owner of a furniture carpentry workshop in the Esenyurt area, and he insists on working in it despite the difficulties.

Alaa explained to Enab Baladi that at the beginning of his career he faced a lot of problems, but he is still doing it with his partner, Muhannad (32 years).

The opening of the workshop was not easy, since the lack of a network of customers and clients, the high cost of equipment and the high prices of the required equipment, were the most prominent obstacles that prevented the start of the work of the two prevented young men. Daraya.

Alaa rented a shop with the tools of the profession, which made it easier for him to look for new tools and reduce costs, in addition to owning a car that serves his profession and reduces transport and transportation fees for him, and give him the option to accept job offers if the workplace is far away.

The two young men needed patience and waited for the start of their work, and over time they were able to give a picture of their work to clients and contractors, and their endeavor to leave a mark of creativity, through advantage to draw from the accumulated experience.

According to Alaa, the market is witnessing a state of apathy and stagnation at times, but the work in the workshop does not stop, as the two young men are skilled in working with all furniture requirements related to wood, such as bedrooms, door models, offices, kitchens and others.

Many workshops, professions and companies are active in Turkey, which have transferred the culture and heritage of the Syrian people to the Turkish street and made their mark in many sectors.

Equipment inside a furniture carpentry workshop in the Esenyurt area on the European side of Istanbul – September 1, 2022 (Enab Baladi)

Furniture Daria today

The carpenters of Daraya left behind destroyed and burnt wooden workshops and warehouses and since their displacement, in late 2012, transferred their profession to the cities and countries of displacement and the city was finally handed over to the Syrian regime after a committee that the city’s factions and activists reached an agreement with it to vacate the city in August 2016.

The number of workshops, workers and sales halls has dwindled in the city, which has seen years of siege and bombardment, after some workshops exported their products to the Syrian governorates and the Jazira region.

While the Syrian regime’s media promotes a boom in handicraft industries in regime-controlled areas, including the city of Darayya, the government newspaper, “Al-Baath,” said last March that handicraft industries are seeing an accelerated return in rural Damascus, especially the city of Darayya.

The newspaper, quoting the head of the local council, Marwan Obeid, stated that the number of workshops operating in the city has reached 100 blacksmith workshops, 100 carpentry and aluminum workshops and 70 shops.

Tadaria had a furniture market and more than 2,500 furniture manufacturing workshops, according to a statistic published in 2005 by the former mayor of Darayya, Muhammad Mazhar Sharbaji, through the “Al-Baath” newspaper.

The workshops spread in the tribal neighborhood (south of Darayya) and “Al-Thawra” street, which connects the city’s southern and northern parts and its branches. The furniture market is the largest and most famous in the city.

According to previous testimonies of traders contacted by Enab Baladi, the number of workshops increased in the years before 2011, especially in the irregularities on the outskirts of the city. Some carpentry supply dealers in Darayya estimate that the number of carpenters in the city exceeds ten thousand.

Furniture carpentry workshop in the Turkish city of Inch - August 30, 2022 (Enab Baladi)

Furniture carpentry workshop in the Turkish city of Inch – August 30, 2022 (Enab Baladi)

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