Mehmet Ali Kâğıtçı

İş İnsanı

Istanbul University Science Faculty

Businessman and founder of the Izmir Paper Mill and the paper industry in Turkey. He is the son of the Lieutenant Commander Ahmet Bey. He was born in 1899 in Istanbul, Heybeliada. He finished his primary education in Heybeliada. After finishing the İstanbul Erkek High School, he graduated from the Science Faculty of the University of Istanbul by obtaining the diploma of chemistry and the certificates of Mineralogy and General Mathematics. After his graduation, he worked as an assistant in the Institute of Chemistry and as a teacher of chemistry in the Marine School. Later on, he went to Germany and worked in the factories of cellulose and paper mills in this country for a while. By passing from Germany to France, he entered into the paper institute in Grenoble and continued his education. He took his diploma of paper engineering in the first rank from the School of Paper Engineering of the Grenoble University in 1927.

After returning to the hometown, while Mehmet Ali Kağıtçı worked as a chemist in the laboratory of the Haseki Hospital, as a lecturer in the Yüksek Levazım School, as an Industrial Inspector in the Ministry of Economics, as a teacher of chemistry in the Yüksek Ticaret School, and as a specialist chemist in the foundation of the Ticarî Tahliller Laboratory, he also concurrently made a continuous effort for the foundation of the paper industry in our country.

The fact that he finished the French School of Paper Engineering of the Grenoble University with the first degree in 1927, took the attention of the French. He received an important job offer from Papeteries de France, an important company of France in that period. However, he refused this offer and he also refused the offer repeated by means of the Consulate General in Istanbul, by giving his acknowledgments. Despite the insistence of Müfit Özdeş, who was his family friend and who was also someone in the immediate vicinity of Atatürk, saying “Accept the invitation! They will not know your value here. Don’t be a fool…”, he didn’t change his mind.

The articles, which he published in the newspaper Vakit for the aim of making accepted the idea of founding the Turkish paper industry, made an impact. Behçet Bey, who was the Tütün İnhisarı İdaresi Umum Müdürü Behçet Bey (T.N. General Manager of the Exclusive Administration of Tobacco), asked for his help for the paper and carton factory that was planned to be founded. Kağıtçı, who found the opportunity to realize his mission, was happy. However, his happiness was pointless. The undersecretary of economics cancelled the tender on the day of the tender and the project was postponed.

Meanwhile, the representatives of the Central and Northern Europe paper cartels selling paper to Turkey brought new collaboration offers to him. He refused these offers. While he was in a situation in which he couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, the General Manager of İş Bank, Celal Bayar showed him the light he was waiting for. With the support of Celal Bayar, the government published the legal decision concerning the foundation of the paper industry in 10 July 1934. This time, the ones who created barriers and made oppositions entered in an effort to make the factory constructed in their region. The place was selected to be İzmit.   

Thereby, Mehmet Ali Kâğıtçı prepared the projects of our factories of cellulose and paper mills that entered into the first industrial program of five years. He started the implementation of his projects immediately after this initiative passed to Sümerbank. The president of the republic, İsmet İnönü laid the foundation of the first paper mill on 14th August 1934 when the machines ordered from Europe arrived. The Paper Mill of İzmit was opened at the end of 1936 and the foundation of the second factories of cellulose and paper mills are laid in the same day. It was again Mehmet Ali Kâğıtçı who realized its projects and the mounting of its machines. The first Turkish made page of paper was in the hand of Mehmet Ali Kâğıtçı on 18th April 1936.

Apart from these, Mehmet Ali Kâğıtçı founded the department of preparation of kaolin and by determining that the needed raw material could be procured from the village Seyitömer near Kütahya, he bought the privilege of the kaolin element in this region in the name of the company.

Mehmet Ali Kâğıtçı directed the Paper Mill of İzmit, that he founded, for seven years. He left this place in 1941 because of their difference of opinions with Sümerbank and he worked in the Directorate of the İstanbul Belediyesi Kimyahanesi Müdürlüğü (T.N. Chemical Laboratory of the Municipality of Istanbul) starting from the year 1942. He passed away on 1st October 1982 in Istanbul.

He took place in the directorate of the Türk Kimya Association since its foundation and in the membership of the French Association of Cellulose and Paper Engineers. He was the author of the following printed works: Fabrikacılık ve Sanayi Notları, Selüloz ve Kâğıt, Kanda Glikoz, Kâğıtçılık Tarihçesi and PH Hamızlık ve Kalevilik Kuvveti. Apart from his books, a large number of his articles, which described the conflicts he competed for the improvement of the paper industry in the country, took place in various newspapers and journals. His invention putting forward that it is possible to use the resinified celluloses in the paper industry, took attention in German professional journals and in several foreign establishments and his article on this topic was published in journals in Vienna and Berlin.  


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