|For Çalli, who began life in the village of Çal in 1882, art was an obsession. While he was working as a clerk in the Istanbul lawcourts, the drawings and sketches he had made during his schooldays in Izmir attracted the attention of Seker Ahmet Pasha and led to his being enrolled as a student in the Academy of Fine Arts. From here he went to France, and on his return was appointed teacher in the Academy.
After the building known as the Mebusan Sarayi (Parliament building) at Findikli was placed at the disposal of the Academy, Çalli took up residence in a room there, where he lived on very friendly terms with the students.
IOne night, while walking back through Beyoglu to his room in the Academy, Çalli was attacked and stripped by two persons. At the same moment he saw that the Academy was on fire. Running back to the Academy in this half-naked state, he was stopped and questioned by the police. On declaring that he was a professor in the Academy he was promptly placed under arrest. He tried to get out of it by asking them to take him back to the Academy and then to ask Atatürk if they liked. Upon this he was indeed taken back to the Academy but narrowly escaped being taken to a mental hospital.