Zat’ülhareke, Devrim Arabaları, Anadol, Togg: Türkiye’nin Otomobil Tarihine Yolculuk

From Revolution Cars to Togg: Turkey’s Automobile History

A domestic automobile production is a subject that has been on the agenda of our country for a long time. Recently, one of the important steps in this field was taken and the domestic production car named Togg was taken off the production line. However, efforts to produce domestic cars in Turkey date back to earlier times than today.

It is known that in the first years of the Republic, important steps were taken and large investments were made in order to produce automobiles in Turkey. However, the first acquaintance of Turkish people with the automobile coincides with the eras before the republic. So much so that in the last days of the Ottoman Empire, a small number of vehicles named “zat’ülhareke” in Istanbul were considered as one of the most interesting and prestigious objects of the period. Here is Turkey’s automobile history from zat’ülhareke to Togg…

Turkish people were introduced to a modern automobile for the first time thanks to the vehicles named zat’ülhareke.


Zat’ülhareke was used to mean a vehicle that could move “spontaneously, automatically, without anyone’s intervention”. According to official records, the first zat’ülhareke was brought to the Ottoman Empire from France in disassembled condition. However, this transportation vehicle named zat’ülhereke, the Ottoman Sultan of the period II. It was used by only a few people other than Abdülhamid…

These few cars, which appeared on the streets of Istanbul, attracted the attention of the Ottomans, but at the same time caused them to be afraid. Because these cars were running with an incredible noise! They even frightened the horses pulling the carts from time to time, causing minor chaos in the streets of Istanbul.

Zat’ülharekeler II in 1905. Banned by Abdulhamid


Due to the turbulent political structure of the period, II. Abdulhamid was worried that he would be assassinated. It was understood that this concern was not unjustified. On July 21, 1905, II. A timed explosive was placed on Abdulhamid’s carriage, II. Abdulhamid had survived this attack by chance. After this event, called the “Star Assassination”, II. Abdulhamid zat’ülhareke completely banned the use of vehicles and imposed significant restrictions on the use of horse-drawn carriages.

In 1908, II. With the declaration of the Constitutional Monarchy, the zat’ulhareke once again began to appear on the streets of Istanbul.

II. Abdulhamid’s zat’ulhareke ban was lifted. During this period, the most famous zat’ülhareke in Istanbul belonged to the Minister of War, Mahmut Şevket Pasha. Mahmut Şevket Pasha died in 1913 as a result of an armed attack while he was in his car… However, this incident did not negatively affect his interest in the zat’ülhareke in Istanbul.

II. Thanks to the freedom environment provided by the Constitutional Monarchy, there was a significant increase in the number of zat’ulhareke in Istanbul.

The car was becoming increasingly popular in Europe at the time. With the lifting of the ban on zat’ulhareke in the Ottoman Empire, these interesting means began to become widespread in Istanbul as well. These cars, which were first used by foreign envoys, later became popular among non-Muslims and some wealthy merchants.

Later, Ottoman ministers became visible on the streets of Istanbul with their vehicles named zat’ülhareke. Thus, there was a serious increase in the number of zat’ulhareke on the streets of Istanbul. As a matter of fact, the first traffic accident in the Ottoman lands took place in such a period…

The zat’uhareke of the Italian embassy caused the death of an Ottoman citizen in 1912.

This event was recorded as the first traffic accident in the Ottoman lands. The driver of the vehicle was released after the accident in exchange for a large compensation. Automobiles had become an ordinary part of daily life in the Ottoman Empire.

The first studies on automobile production in Turkey started after the proclamation of the republic.

Turkish people met automobiles in the modern sense in the Ottoman period. However, the necessary steps to produce cars were taken after the proclamation of the republic. In 1929, an agreement was signed between the United States-based “Ford Motor Company” automobile manufacturer and the Republic of Turkey, valid for 25 years. As part of the agreement, an automobile assembly factory was established in Istanbul’s Tophane district…

Although the factory in Tophane was an extremely small production facility, it had the capacity to produce 48 cars per day. By 1934, the factory, which was considered the most important and first step in automobile production in Turkey, was closed. The main reason for the closure of the factory was the global crisis, which deeply affected the whole world and was called the Great Depression. In 1944, the factory was completely destroyed. However, this experience gave the young Republic of Turkey a great deal of experience in the field of automobile production.

II. After World War II, the United States donated a large number of Jeep cars to Turkey.


For this reason, Jeep brand cars became the most popular vehicles of a period. So much so that although Jeep is an automobile brand, it is used as the general name of all terrain class vehicles… In the following period, an automobile assembly factory named “Turk Willys Overland Tuzla Jeep Assembly Factory” was established in Tuzla. The factory started production in 1956.

Although it was basically an assembly plant, the rate of domestic production in the factory was also increasing. In the following years, this rate reached the level of 60 percent. In addition, world-class civil and military off-road vehicles were produced in the factory.

In 1986, efforts were initiated to switch to 100% domestic production at the Turk Willys Overland Tuzla Jeep Assembly Factory.


This aim was achieved in the mid-1990s. In the factory, 100% domestic military jeeps were produced in “GT” and “GTD” models. The vehicles produced here were registered under the name “Tuzla 1013” and an important step was taken towards branding. However, this important factory was closed in 2006, for an inexplicable reason…

Turkey’s first domestic car, Devrim, was produced in 1961.


President of the period, Cemal Gürsel, gave instructions to Eskişehir State Railways Factory to produce a domestic automobile. In this direction, a completely domestically designed automobile was produced by a team of Turkish employees, from engineers to workers: Devrim. However, when Cemal Gürsel used the car for the first time, the vehicle ran out of gas and Devrim was on the road. In the following process, Devrim cars could not attract investors due to its bad image and the project was shelved.

Founded in 1959 by Koç Holding, Otosan A.Ş. It has made a great contribution to automobile production in Turkey within the scope of its partnership with Ford Motor Company.

Over the years, many automobiles have been assembled in factories established in different parts of the country. In addition, serious production steps were taken in different areas of the automotive industry. However, this partnership gave its most important fruit in 1966…

In 1966, “Anadol”, one of Turkey’s most important automobiles, was produced.


The activities carried out in the automotive field within Koç Holding led to the birth of a domestically produced automobile in 1966. The relatively expensiveness of other cars produced in partnership with Ford Motor Company was also an important factor in the emergence of Anadol.

Unlike the general automobile manufacturing practices of the period, Anadol was manufactured from a material called fiberglass. In this way, it was possible to reduce production costs. Considering the standards of the 1960s, Anadol was a very important automobile produced with a technology ahead of its time. From 1966 to 1984, 93,188 Anadol brand cars were produced in Turkey.

From the early 1970s to the 1990s, many important automobile manufacturers established production facilities in Turkey.


World-renowned automobile brands such as Opel, Ford, Toyota and Renault were operating in Turkey in assembly and production. Turkey’s relatively cheap and well-trained workforce in the automotive industry was one of the main reasons for foreign production capital to invest in our country.

The work that started in 1929 for automobile production in Turkey continues with Togg.

In 2019, it was announced that a factory would be established for the production of electric cars in the Gemlik district of Bursa. Within the scope of this initiative launched for domestic electric car production in Turkey, the first Togg brand car was taken off the production line on October 29th. For answers to your questions about Togg, we can take you to our content:

Everything You Need to Know About the Togg C SUV Rolling Off the Production Line on October 29

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