The Applause Last Time: Ali Dayı and Turkey’s Pro-Government Media in 1955



Turkey’s Democrat Party governed the country for a decade. During these years, it won three elections and dominated Turkish politics. Even after it was removed from office by the military and its highest-ranking leaders had been executed, it remained popular. In the first post-coup election in 1961, its successor party was nearly returned to office—and, despite the loss, that party went on to win the two subsequent elections.[1] More recently, the Democrat Party has become a point of reference for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, which presents itself as continuing the blend of market liberalism and religious populism that the former pioneered.


Yet, for all that, much of the imagery and writing that remains with us from the Democrat Party’s time in power was produced by its opponents. The best fiction, satire, and poetry was highly critical of the social and political order from which the party drew its strength. What media then can we study in order to get a sense of Democrat Party style? What images resonated with its supporters—or, short of that, what images did the party’s elite think would appeal to a wider, popular audience?


One fascinating example of pro-Democrat Party media is the magazine Ali Dayı. Details about the magazine are scant save that it ran from 1948 through at least 1958.[2] It was published by Mithat Eriş, an Istanbul journalist and publisher who often signed off on its editorials.[3] For much of its run, art and writing duties were overseen by Orhan Unal, a well-known cartoonist.[4] A typical issue was four pages—a front page with an editorial and a cartoon featuring the eponymous villager Ali Dayı (“Uncle Ali”); two pages of tabloid stories focusing on murder and other sensational crimes; and a final page featuring serialized fiction. Until its final years the magazine was strongly in favor of the Democrat Party and, consequently, provides a (literally) colorful glimpse into the way Democrat Party supporters viewed the issues of the day.


The following images come from 1955, a particularly important year for several reasons. Most memorably, 1955 was the year of Turkey’s most serious anti-Greek pogroms, but it was also the year in which Turkey joined a major regional security alliance and in which economic troubles nearly toppled the Democrat Party leadership. Throughout this turbulence, Ali Dayı remained loyal and, consequently, looking at its images gives us a sense of the worldview common to Turkey’s ruling party as it began to face serious challenges.



Regional Politics (1): The Baghdad Pact


A common theme of the cartoons in Ali Dayı is Middle Eastern politics. Following WWII, the influence of Britain and France on affairs in the region significantly weakened. Not only did this vacuum create an opening for Turkish leaders to enter, but it also coincided with a renewed national interest in Turkey’s Ottoman heritage and, thus, its four hundred years of rule over Arab lands.[5] In the early 1950s, the Democrat Party leaders were most at ease with monarchial regimes in countries like Egypt, Jordan, and Iraq, whose leaders had once been Ottoman citizens and whose politicians often still understood Ottoman Turkish.[6] Nor was this shared culture unique to Turks and Arabs: even in a country like Israel, the president, David Ben-Gurion, had received his college degree from Istanbul University.


Greater involvement in Arabic-speaking lands not only suited Turkish leaders’ understanding of their country’s regional role, but it also made them appear indispensible allies to the United States and Great Britain. By 1955, however, this role was becoming difficult to play. The overthrow of the Egyptian monarchy in 1952 and consolidation of power by Gamal Abdel Nasser and his nationalist military officers made more conservative Arab regimes (and Turkey) seem like puppets of foreign powers.


The prospect of a strong Egyptian regime frightened both Arab monarchs and Israeli leaders. On February 24, 1955 Iraqi and Turkish leaders signed a security treaty, implying they would stand against the communist-tinged Arab nationalism associated with Nasser.[7] Four days later, Israel launched an attack on the Egyptian military headquarters in Gaza, killing thirty-seven Egyptian soldiers and making Egypt look ineffectual. Following the raid, the Nasser regime began recruiting Palestinian refugees to infiltrate and attack Israel while also vigorously discouraging other Arab states from joining the Turkish-Iraqi agreement.[8] Nasser was successful: instead of drawing more Arab states into an anti-Soviet alliance, the “Baghdad Pact” was joined by Great Britain, Pakistan, and Iran. By late 1955, Iraq and Turkey had become isolated in the region.[9] Rather than serving its intended purpose, the Baghdad Pact became a means for the members to security military aid.[10]


In cartoons from this period, Ali Dayı emphasizes the nobility of its allies in Iraq and Pakistan, while depicting the Egyptians, Israelis, and Syrians using far less flattering imagery.[11]



January 3, 1955


Happy Travels!

[Prime Minister Menderes setting out on his tour of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; the stickers on his baggage read “friendship” and “brotherhood”]

Iraqi: Selamalaikum, Mr. Menderes. The Arab world is with you. Trust in it.

Ali Dayı: From our brothers in religion we were already expecting such [a welcome]. After this, is there anyone who would doubt the Middle East?


January 31, 1955


Hey, you peasant![12]

[Egypt pours cold water into a pot labeled “Turk-Arab Cooperation.” On January 20, the Egyptian government had announced that now was not the time for Menderes to visit the country or for Nasser to visit Turkey[13]]

Egypt: I don’t like this. I’m going to cool things down a bit.

Ali Dayı: Say, “Add a bit of water to this cooked meal?” . . .One day you’ll be in need of me.


February 21, 1955


Friend and brother in Pakistan

[While Bayar was on his two-week trip to Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister Nehru visited Egypt. [14]]

Celal Bayar: What a beautiful atmosphere there is here Ali Dayı.

Ali Dayı: Yes my honorable president; in this atmosphere, friend and brother Pakistan is extending its loving hands to shake, strengthening our friendship a thousand times.


March 7, 1955


Stragglers from the pack . . .

[On February 28, Israeli commandos had attacked the Egyptian military headquarters in Gaza in retaliation for several recent cross-border attacks by Palestinians living under Egyptian control.]

Egypt: Hey sir, don’t squeeze my throat. What did I do to you?

Israel: Stop, peasant . . .

Ali Dayı: Egypt’s gonna get it . . .and there’s more than that!


March 17, 1955


Turkey-Iraq Festival

[By mid-March, Syria had firmly rejected participation in the Baghdad Pact, Israel was feeling isolated by Turkey’s support for Arab demands, and the British had assured Nasser that they would not seek to include more Arab states.[15]]

Ali Dayı: Ah, now we can dance the hora . . .Our British friends like this so much, they are playing the drums happily . . .Those who haven’t entered into this are going mad with regret . . .



Regional Politics (2): Cold War Alliances


The threat of Soviet expansion in 1945 had been serious. Toward the end of WII, the USSR demanded that Turkey renegotiate their shared border and establish joint-defense in the Bosphorus Straits. Only after the USSR increased the size of its forces in Iran and Azerbaijan in March 1946 did the US give a strong signal of its support for Turkey by dispatching the USS Missouri to Istanbul.[16] Over the following decade, Turkey formed close links with the United States, receiving funding via the Truman Doctrine and Marshall Plan, fighting in the Korean War, and joining NATO. With the death of Stalin, the Soviet leaders softened their policy towards Turkey, dropping their claims on Turkey’s northeastern provinces.[17] By 1955, therefore, Turkey faced less existential security concerns and Turkish leaders had become more concerned with strengthening the country’s influence in the region.


As the following cartoons suggest, asserting a more prominent role in the region depended on concrete displays of power in terms of armaments. In the first image, Turkey (in the form of Ali Dayı) receives a nuclear bomb from the United States.[18] In the second, Turkey is shown as the recipient of American financial largesse. Both cartoons contrast with depictions of Egypt engaged in similar dealings with the USSR. Whereas Ali Dayı is merry and confident—almost cavalier in his acceptance of American aid—the Egyptians are depicted as foolish puppets of the Soviet Union. It is hardly a stretch to suggest that the irony of this contrast was not lost on the Democrat Party or its supporters. The Turkish left certainly drew a parallel when it argued that American aid was making Turkey dependent.[19]


The final image is a reminder of how difficult it was for Turkish leaders to both align themselves with the American bloc and appeal to neighboring countries where (in theory) a shared history and culture gave them a diplomatic advantage. Algeria was such a case: on August 20, 1955 several thousand Muslim villagers attacked European settlements, spurred on by rumors that the Nasser regime had arrived to liberate them from the French. One-hundred and twenty three people were killed over the course of three days. The European reprisals were even more violent; in just the town of Philippeville, “hundreds [of Muslims] were herded into the local football stadium and executed.”[20] Although the cartoon shows little sympathy toward France, it is unclear whether Ali Dayı’s reprimand does not also extend to the hapless Muslim villager. Such was the ambiguous position in which Turkish diplomats often found themselves.


May 12, 1955


The most powerful gift! . . .

[On May 2, the Turkish government signed an agreement with the United States allowing the export of uranium to Turkey and technical assistance with building a reactor.[21]]

America: Take into your care Ali Dayı . . .

Ali Dayı: Give to us this atom bomb which can change the world in an instant. Enemies are driven mad with jealousy.


May 16, 1955


Ah, a blessing, uncle! . . .

[On May 13, a Turkish delegation traveled to Washington D.C. in the hope of securing an extra $300 million of credit; the same day, the Turkish parliament altered the Petroleum Law to further encourage foreign investment.[22]]

American: This beautiful land is being watered with bright yellow gold such that everywhere will be a garden of heaven . . .

Ali Dayı: Ay friend, we were expecting this! . . .



October 3, 1955


This won’t work old Hajjis

[In late September, the Egyptian government announced it would purchase armaments from the Soviet bloc.]

Ali Dayı: Russia has started to give Egypt weapons. What will Egypt do with these weapons? Playing with fire isn’t a good thing. Being in the line of fire! . . .


December 1, 1955


They are Fooling Egypt

Ali Dayı: Russia is busy with fooling the Egyptians . . .But peace will stay eternal in the Middle East . . .


September 8, 1955


Blood wants blood, but . . .

[A women representing France punishes a villager representing Algeria.]

France: You rise up, you want freedom, huh . . .Take it like this . . .

Ali Dayı: Oh freedom-loving France! You’ve made a martyr sigh, you’ll pay for it by and by . . .





The imagery used in Ali Dayı to observe national holidays is typical of officially sanctioned publications in these years regardless of their political alignment. The first cartoon honors May 19. The holiday is loaded with significance: not only does it memorialize the day Mustafa Kemal arrived in the city of Samsun to take command of the national resistance against the Western powers, but it is also, conveniently, his birthday. From 1935 to 1938, it was celebrated as “Atatürk Day.” Following 1938, however, it had been celebrated as “Youth and Sports Day” in symbolic honor of the birth of the new nation.[23] The two youths on display in the first cartoon make for a sharp contrast with Ali Dayı himself—especially given that all three are meant to represent some aspect of Turkey. Yet such youthful figures had become common iconography in Turkey and other countries over the past several decades. The youths personified Turkey’s future and their physical perfection was meant to mirror the ultimate perfection of the Turkish body public.[24]


The cartoon memorializing the death of Atatürk also fits with the practice in other publications. Into the 1950s, newspapers published on November 10 contained headlines and multiple pages devoted to the life of Mustafa Kemal. Even in 1955, observance of Atatürk’s death was still evolving: only two years earlier, the fifteenth anniversary of Atatürk’s passing had been celebrated with his re-internment in the Anıtkabir, a sprawling mausoleum and museum complex in Ankara.[25]


May 19, 1955


Thank God, we are standing, full of life

Youth: Our heads straight, our eyes in forward, we are like iron . . .

Ali Dayı: Lion cubs certainly . . .You are under a sun that gives you such life and existence . . .


November 10, 1955


Rest in light MY ANCESTOR!

Ali Dayı: Today is the Turkish nation’s great day of sorrow. OUR GREAT ANCESTOR who won this homeland for us—today, with one heart, 24 million Turks remember you and bow in your spiritual presence! . . .



Domestic Politics


The Democrat Party won the May 2, 1954 elections with 55% of the vote and consequently controlled 503 out of 539 seats in the new parliament. Against this staggering majority, the opposition was in disarray. The scale of the Democrat Party’s victory, however, created serious problems for the party leadership. Prior to the elections, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes had worked to assert his control over the party: rather than consult with provincial organizations, he had created a candidate list full of his own allies. One result of Menderes’ tinkering was that, even though the party won more seats in 1954, nearly 50% of the 1950 crop of Democrat Party candidates did not serve a second term.[26]


Seeing the electoral victory as akin to a national referendum on himself, Menderes began consulting less with his parliamentary group and taking a harsher line against his opponents. He also angered liberals in the party when, two months after the elections, his government introduced a number of protectionist measures meant to address the worsening economic situation. The liberal wing of the Democrat Party finally challenged Menderes’ government on the issue of “right of proof” (ispat hakkı) under which journalists would be able to avoid prosecution by presenting evidence for their claims against officials.[27] In early October 1955, nineteen Democrat Party parliamentary representatives called for the law but their proposal was voted down. Nine were subsequently expelled from the party and ten more resigned. At the 4th Party Congress (October 15-18, 1955), Menderes was re-elected leader of the party and even tried (unsuccessfully) to pass a rule obligating parliamentarians who left the party to also resign from their parliamentary positions.[28]


A poorer-than-expected showing in the local elections on November 13-15 rattled nerves among Democrat Party parliamentarians and led to harsh criticisms of the government at the following group meeting while Menderes was visiting Iraq. Confronting the parliamentary group on his return, Menderes declared he would not resign under pressure and demanded that they give him a vote of confidence (rather than vote on his cabinet as a whole). Faced with the choice of Menderes or a fragmented party, the parliamentary group voted to support him.[29] Within two weeks he had formed a new cabinet of loyal ministers and presented a program to the parliament. In frustration, the nineteen dissidents declared the formation of a new party: the Freedom Party.


The cartoons track this process, the first showing the infighting between members of the Democrat Party’s main opposition party, the CHP; the second follows the 4th Party Congress, after Menderes had been re-elected; and the last comes a week after the Freedom Party was announced.



January 10, 1955


Perhaps they’ll eat each other

[Any one of the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) internal disputes could be illustrated here, but it may refer to arguments revealed on December 31, when party leader İsmet İnönü made overtures to the Democrats and the party General Secretary Kasım Gülek denied any such rapprochement was in the works.[30]]

Ali Dayı: Hey, what’ll become of you, huh? Whose stuff are you leaving to whom? How can the nation trust such a party?


October 24, 1955


One who aids God’s truths

[Following his re-election as Democrat Party leader, Prime Minister Adnan Menderes is shown leading the common people along the “right path,” toward the rising sun of “welfare.”]

Ali Dayı: Honorable Stern Menderes, one who aids God’s truths. While you are our leader, we will follow you on the illuminated path. No step you have taken is without meaning!


December 26, 1955


Your path is open

[Politicians leaving the Democrat Party (D.P.) for the Freedom Party (H.P.), which ad been formed on December 20.]

Ali Dayı: Bye, bye gentlemen. We’ll be waiting!





By 1954, the Democrat Party’s “golden years” of rule had come to an end. During these years, economic and military aid from the United States combined with high global demand due to the Korean War had spurred rapid growth in the Turkish agriculture sector.[31] Government policies focused on building infrastructure and providing tractors on credit to farmers. Between 1946 and 1955, the area under cultivation grew from 9.5 to 14.2 million hectares; production rose, prices fell, and farmers’ incomes increased.[32] These trends were promising so long as global demand remained high and harvests were successful; when they were not, the economy faltered. In 1954, output fell 15% and per capita income fell 11%.[33]


Unable to sustain the high ratio of imports to exports that had fueled growth and satisfied consumer demand, the government introduced price controls, import quotas, and limits on foreign exchange transactions after July 1954. Gaining access to import licenses and foreign exchange credit often depended more on one’s relationships with state officials than one’s credit-worthiness or business acumen.[34] As goods became more scarce and prices rose, Turkish citizens became more dependent on the black market to supply their daily needs.


A year into the economic troubles, the cartoons in Ali Dayı still present black market speculation as driven by buffoonish figures—figures whom the Turkish nation (in the form of Ali Dayı) or the government (as represented by the iconic Democrat Party hand) can easily stymie, halt, or punish.[35]


January 20, 1955


Hey, don’t blow it up any more, I’ll pop it!

[A man labeled “Opportunist” is blowing up a balloon marked “Expensiveness.”]

Opportunist: Ah, if I fill it a bit more, it’ll fatten . . .

Ali Dayı: Hey, look at me; a liar’s candle only burns so long. If this should cut, the balloon you’re filling will go out with a “fiss”!


July 28, 1955


This Fortress Cannot Be Passed!

[Three men labeled “Opportunist,” “Black Market,” and “Hoarder” are halted by the symbolic hand of the Democrat Party.]

The Hoarder and the Black Marketeer: Now we can’t pass here . . .Where will we go, I don’t know.

Ali Dayı: Enough! You’ve done uncountable ugly things . . .Know that this hand can become a fist and mash you into a paste!


November 29, 1955


Pleasure Swing!

[A man labeled “Profiteer” faces the gallows.]

Ali Dayı: Permission is not given to those who suck the blood of the nation. If you don’t want to see the gallows, give up this sucking!











Cyprus had been a cause celebre for Turkish nationalists before 1955, but it was during the course of 1955 that the government encouraged Turkish citizens to focus on the issue.[36] The island had not been a major concern for its British rulers either before WWII, but as the empire was forced to retreat from other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean, the importance of Cyprus grew. For their part, Greek Cypriots became more vocal in their demands as they watched the Dodecanese islands be given to Greece and Malta receive a constitution in 1947. After leaving India and Palestine, however, the British military and Foreign Office were in no mood to give up more territory. Following the 1954 renegotiation of the Suez treaty with Egypt, moreover, the British were forced to relocate their military bases to the island. In order to maintain their rule, the British began improving their relations with the island’s Turkish population.[37]


In late 1954, the Greek government announced it would take the issue of Cypriot independence or incorporation with Greece (enosis) to the United Nations. In response, the Turkish government called for partition (taksim) and welcomed the establishment of the Cyprus Is Turkish Society (KTC), which mobilized youth and union members to join in large rallies.


When talks between the British and the Greek Cypriots broke down in March 1955, a nationalist Greek Cypriot organization called EOKA began attacking British targets. The British determined that bringing the Turkish government into the negotiations would strengthen their own cause. Accordingly, Turkey was invited to participate at a conference in London in late August. As the rhetoric inside the conference chambers grew more heated, so did the situation on the street. Greek Cypriots held protests in London September 4, leading Turkish leaders to believe that a similar show of popular support could strengthen their position.[38]


On September 6, a bomb was detonated outside the childhood home of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Salonika. When the news reached Istanbul, massive riots broke out in which thousands of Greek businesses, hundreds of homes, and dozens of churches were attacked.[39] Though the government declared six-months of martial law and blamed communist provocateurs, it also arrested members of the KTC. In Salonika, the Greek government arrested and prosecuted a Turkish student for the bombing, claiming that he had been given the bombs by Turkish diplomats at the Salonika consulate in order to provoke riots. The following year, the Turkish government pressured Greece to release the student. He was returned to Turkey and given a job in Istanbul, ultimately becoming governor of a province.[40]


The pogroms received international condemnation of the Turkish government, but did not change its line: in late 1956, it was still calling for a partition of Cyprus. Meanwhile on the island, EOKA, which had purposefully avoided attacks on Turkish Cypriots in the British service at first, began to target them as well.[41]


Throughout 1955 and after, Cyprus remained one of Ali Dayı’s main concerns. The following sampling of cartoons is far from comprehensive; rather it suggests ways in which Cyprus shaped the larger understanding of international issues among conservative-nationalists in Turkey. The first cartoon, for example, actually refers to Taiwan, an issue utterly removed from Turkish security concerns but with great symbolic associations: a small island, threatened by communists, supported by the United States. Moreover, since 1949, the Chinese communists in question were busily consolidating their rule over Muslim Turkic peoples in the “liberated” northwestern province of Xinjiang. Much like Turkish Cypriots, Uighurs in China were another Turkic population that Turkish nationalists saw being persecuted.


The following three cartoons present more familiar depictions of the Cyprus issue—the fanatical and easily manipulated Greek Cypriot, the radical Orthodox priest, and the firm hand of the Democrat Party putting a stop their nonsense.


The final cartoon was published following the pogroms on September 6-7 and, given the details we now know, speaks volumes as to how supporters of the Turkey’s ruling party chose to (mis)represent the world around them.


February 10, 1955


Come forward, you’ll see what’s possible!

[A Chinese solider and the Russian goading him on look with consternation at the vigilant Taiwanese soldier, backed by the United States and an applauding Turkey.]

Russia: Attack!

China: Do you know who’s behind him?

Ali Dayı: Come and see what happens. Leap over here and the world will again be set aflame.


May 30, 1955


A beating is needed, that’s the thing!

[Turkey prepares to use force against the hapless Greek soldier and the villainous priest manipulating his actions.]

Ali Dayı: In the case of Cyprus, without thoroughly bringing [force to bear], that red priest’s life-taking, bomb-detonating Greek soldiers  won’t come to their senses.[42]


August 29, 1955


Menderes, Emotionally

Greek: I want Cyprus! Thrace! The islands!

Menderes: Look at me peasant! I don’t care to say more. I’ve said my last word.

Ali Dayı: Stern Menderes has spoken like a man . . .If you understand this, you’ll hold your tongue.


September 5, 1955


Halt peasant![43]

[A Greek presenting a demand is stopped by the firm hand of the Turkish nation—or, in this context, the Democrat Party.]

Greek: I want Cyprus to be Greece’s . . .

Ali Dayı: Look as much as you like. . .The Turk’s unbending hand has said, “Stop.” Take heed . . .


September 12, 1955


All of us were saddened by these events.

Ali Dayı: A few red Communist Greeks throwing bombs at the Salonica birthplace of our saintly Ancestor opened the way to some heartbreaking events in Istanbul and Izmir. Fortunately, the Government has done a fine job of punishing the defeatists.







For the translations, I want to thank Professor Güliz Kuruoğlu for giving advice in several cases—however, the translations are mine and any mistakes are most definitely mine. So, any suggestions for improvement would be appreciated.

[1] Not only did the successor to the Democrat Party call itself the “Justice Party” in part to evoke the bitter memories of its predecessor’s removal from power and prosecution, but the party went further: its emblem featured a grey horse, a reference to the Democrat Party’s nickname, “the Demirkırat [grey-iron-horse] Party” (Geoffrey Lewis, The Turkish Language Reform: A Catastrophic Success [Oxford University Press, 1999], 8fn6). For a good overview of the Justice Party’s establishment see Tanel Demirel, Adalet Partisi: İdeoloji ve Politika (İstanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2004), 23-46.

[2] On Seyriadem, their wonderful site covering the history of the Turkish satirical press, Alperen Köşeoğlu and Alper Rıza Selçuk suggest that the magazine ran through 1962 based on records at Istanbul University (“Ali Dayı). Only issues through 1958 are accessible, however.

[3] According to Who’s Who in the Turkish Press, Eriş was born in Midili in 1912 and, by adulthood, could speak Greek and French. In the late 1930s, he worked as an editor for the newspaper Cumhuriyet. In the 1950 election, he stood as a candidate for the Democrat Party in Hakkari province; he pulled out before the election, however. His chances of winning may have been slight anyway since the CHP tended to be successful in eastern Turkish provinces in 1950, even as it lost overall. In his 1993 obituary, he is said to have worked for the papers Demokrat, Yeni Türkiye, and Millet and published the magazines Kelepçe, Bizim Köylü, Fener Spor, and Selamcı (Türk Basında Kim Kimdir [Ankara: Ayyıldız Maatbası A.Ş., 1977], 26; Cengiz Atlı, “1950 Yılı Kars Milletvekilliği ve Belediye Seçimleri,” Ankara Üniversitesi Türk Đnkılâp Tarihi Enstitüsü Atatürk Yolu Dergisi 51 [Spring 2013]: 535fn46; Cumhuriyet, 6/29/93: 4).

[4] In addition to Ali Dayı, Unal worked for such magazines as Hemşehri, Şaka, Karikatür, and Akbaba, and newspapers including Son Posta, Son Dakika, Tanin, and Vakit (“Orhan Unal,” Milliyet Türk Mizahının Öncüleri, [Istanbul: Milliyet,1981], 50).

[5] For discussions of the renewed emphasis on Ottoman heritage, see Nathan Citino, “The Ottoman Legacy in Cold War Modernization,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 40 (2008): 579–597; Gavin Brockett, How Happy to Call Oneself a Turk: Provincial Newspapers and the Negotiation of a Muslim National Identity, Austin: University of Texas Press, 2011; Gavin Brockett, “When Ottomans Become Turks: Commemorating the Conquest of Constantinople and Its Contribution to World History,” American Historical Review 119, no. 2 (April 2014): 399-433; Nicholas Danforth, “Multi-Purpose Empire: Ottoman History in Republican Turkey,” Middle Eastern Studies 50, no. 4 (2014): 655-678.

[6] Nicholas Danforth, “Memory, Modernity, and the Remaking of Republican Turkey, 1945-1960” (Phd diss., Georgetown University, Washington D.C., 2015), 162-64. This thesis, more generally, is full of excellent observations and anecdotes regarding Turkish policy in the Middle East during the early and mid 1950s.

[7] In neighboring Syria, political factions were increasingly split between conservative (pro-Iraqi) and more left-leaning (anti-Iraqi) factions. On February 22, the anti-Iraqi Syrian prime minister spoke against alliances with the West and called for a vote of confidence. The following day, Prime Minister Menderes arrived in Baghdad and the Syrian parliament voted against Western alliances amid reports that two Turkish divisions had been sent to the Syrian border (Patrick Seale, The Struggle for Syria: A Study of Post-War Arab Politics 1945-1958 [London: Tauris, 1985], 219-24).

[8] Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2014), 132-6. Nasser also moved closer to the Soviet Union, securing a large arms deal in September 1955.

[9] The US was focused on establishing a “Northern Tier” alliance of countries along the USSR’s southern flank. The UK, on the other hand, was focused on protecting its access to Middle East oil and military bases. For the UK, joining the Turkish-Iraqi alliance made sense: it allowed the UK to maintain military bases whose leases would otherwise have been expiring in 1957. The US, by contrast, was less interested in joining the alliance once it had become a sore point in Arab politics. The isolation of Turkey and Iraq grew worse after Great Britain attempted to forcefully reoccupy the Suez Canal Zone in 1956. Ultimately, US leaders would argue that the 1958 Iraqi Revolution was caused by the UK having forced the Iraqi regime into an “unnatural” alliance that was opposed by the Iraqi people (Nigel John Ashton, “The Hijacking of a Pact: The Formation of the Baghdad Pact and Anglo-American Tensions in the Middle East, 1955-1958,” Review of International Studies 19, no. 2 [April, 1993]: 135-6). For discussions of Turkish policy in the Middle East, see Mustafa Bilgin, Britain and Turkey in the Middle East-Politics and Influence in the Early Cold War Era (Tauris Academic Studies, 2007); Ayşegül Sever, “The Compliant Ally? Turkey and the West in the Middle East 1954-58,” Middle Eastern Studies 34, no. 2 (Apr., 1998): 73-90; Behçet Kemal Yeşilbursa, The Baghdad Pact: Anglo-American Defence Policies in the Middle East, 1950-1959 (Frank Cass, 2005).

[10] William Hale, Turkish Foreign Policy Since 1774 (London: Routledge, 2000), 93.

[11] For a more vivid (and thorough) discussion of how Arabs were depicted in Turkish cartoons—specifically the magazine Akbaba, read and/or listen to Nicholas Danforth’s observations in “Arabs Through Turkish Eyes.” For a discussion of the way such stereotypes can be seen in the academic literature of the early Turkish Republic, see Ahmet Serdar Aktürk, “Arabs in Kemalist Turkish Historiography,” Middle Eastern Studies 46, no. 5 (2010): 633-653.

[12] The term “fellah” has stronger connotations than “peasant” conveys. It suggests a villager whose skin has been darkened by work in the fields. Some dictionaries give the meaning “negro.”

[13] Feroz Ahmad and Bedia Turgay Ahmad, Turkiye’de Cok Partili Politikanin Aciklamali Kronolojisi, 1945-1971 (Istanbul: Bilgi Yayınevi, 1976), 132.

[14] Ibid., 133. For a thorough discussion of Pakistan’s role in the Baghdad Pact, see Ayesha Jalal, “Towards the Baghdad Pact: South Asia and Middle East Defence in the Cold War, 1947-1955,” The International History Review 11, no. 3 (Aug., 1989): 409-433.

[15] Yeşilbursa, 108-9.

[16] Gül İnanç and Şuhnaz Yilmaz, “Gunboat Diplomacy: Turkey, USA and the Advent of the Cold War,” Middle Eastern Studies 48, no. 3 (2012): 401-411.

[17] Hale, 81-2, 88.

[18] The installation of nuclear weapons in Turkey was not approved until 1959 and did not occur until 1961 when Jupiter missiles were placed in Izmir. These were not operational until spring of 1962, however, and by the fall, the US had tacitly approved their removal in order to calm the Cuban Missile Crisis. By April the missiles were gone, much to the Turkish government’s frustration (Hale, 99-100).

[19] More left-leaning academics depict American economic aid as having strings attached. Çağlar Keydar laments that, in order to maintain economic growth, Menderes forced upon Turkey America’s desired “world division of labor” (127) as well as making political concessions: “US Army personnel became visible on city streets and . . .officials were granted almost vice-regal status” (133).

[20] Martin Evans, Algeria: France’s Undeclared War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 141. Evans goes on to point out that “on the day the Philippeville victims were buried, European mourners rounded up and lynched seven Muslims.”

[21] Ahmad and Ahmad, 136.

[22] Ibid., 136

[23] Following Turkey’s 1980 coup, May 19 was changed from “Youth and Sports Day” to “Atatürk Commemoration, Youth and Sports Day.” Although the name change was presented as acknowledging the 100th anniversary of Mustafa Kemal’s birth, it fit with a larger post-coup tendency to re-emphasize Atatürk’s centrality (Mehmet Barlas, “Atatürk-1981,” Milliyet, 5/19/81).

[24] Hale Yilmaz observes that the emphasis on healthy bodies was tied to an emphasis on athleticism during the 1930s. Tellingly, the movement of these ceremonies “from town squares and street to stadiums reveal[s] . . .fascist influences” from neighboring countries (Becoming Turkish: Nationalist Reforms and Cultural Negotiations in Early Republican Turkey, 1923-1945 [Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2013], 188).

[25] For a discussion of the design competition and construction of the Anıtkabir, see Christopher Wilson, “Representing National Identity and Memory in the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 68, no.2 (June 2009): 224-53.

[26] Feroz Ahmad, The Turkish Experiment in Democracy, 1950-1975 (Boulder: Westview Press, 1977), 87.

[27] Feroz Ahmad suggests that liberals picked a fight over ispat hakkı rather than economic conditions “because they had been responsible for the policies that gave rise to them” (88).

[28] Cem Eroğul, Demokrat Parti: Tarihi ve Ideolojisi (Istanbul: Yordam Kitap, 2013), 170-2.

[29] An account of the contentious parliamentary group meeting on 11/29/55 can be found in Ahmad, 91; Eroğul 175; Tanel Demirel, Türkiye’nin Uzun On Yılı: Demokrat Parti İktidarı ve 27 Mayıs Darbesi (Istanbul: Bilgi Universitesi Yayınları, 2011), 261.

[30] Ahmad and Ahmad, 131.

[31] Between 1947 and 1953, Turkey’s gross national product grew an average of 8.7% a year (Roger Owen and Şevket Pamuk, A History of Middle East Economies in the Twentieth Century [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999], 107-8).

[32] Çağlar Keydar, State and Class in Turkey (New York: Verso, 1987), 130.

[33] Ibid., 131.

[34] Ahmad, 138.

[35] The confident tone with which Ali Dayı depicted the government fighting the black market changed over time. By the late 1950s, the paper was depicting the black market as embodied in more every day situations. Rather than a stereotypically large-bellied fat-cat figure, the black market was now embodied in the corner butcher—and often this butcher was able to outsmart the authorities:

January 27, 1958


Unending Symphony: BUTCHER’S GAME

Some eat, some look. From this, hell breaks loose.

[36] Multiple authors echo the sentiments of Cem Eroğul when he says: “The Democrat Party leaders, hoping to liberate themselves from their domestic pressures, tried to apply the now classic expedient of any government fallen into trouble. To make the people forget their problems, it was necessary to direct their attention to an event beyond themselves. At this point, the increasingly complicated question of Cyprus provided the government with an opportunity” (163).

[37] Robert Holland and Diana Markides, The British and the Hellenes: Struggles for Mastery in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1850–1960 (Oxford University Press, 2006), 217-23.

[38] Gencer Özcan suggests that one element contributing to the government’s increasingly nationalist Cyprus policy was the increasing influence of Fatin Rüştü Zorlu. Initially state minister with the portfolio for Cyprus, he gained influence after the 1954 elections, causing tensions among the party leadership. By July, the more moderate Foreign Minister Fuat Köprülü would resign, making way for Zorlu (“Ellili Yıllarda ‘Dış’ Politika,” in Türkiye’nin 1950’li Yılları, ed. Mete Kaan Kaynar [Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2015], 116). It was Zorlu who called Menderes on the evening of September 5 while the prime minister was dining with Hikmet Bil, the President of the Cyprus is Turkish Society, suggesting that the nation could show more support for the London negotiations in which he was involved (Dilek Güven, Cumhuriyet Dönemi Azınlık Politikaları ve Stratejileri Bağlamında 6-7 Eylül Olayları [Istanbul: İletişim Yayınları, 2006], 82).

[39] Of the approximately 3,900 businesses attacked in Istanbul during the September pogroms, 2,200 (56%) were Greek and 900 (23%) were Armenian. The remaining 21% was split evenly between Jews and Muslims (Ibid., 49). Only 11-15 deaths were reported—most of these victims employees at targeted churches—and Dilek Güven suggests that this low death toll is actual evidence of the carefully directed nature of the attacks: one witness she quotes recalls seeing men in a car with KTC slogans giving directions to the crowd to destroy but not physically harm (Ibid., 54fn156). Nonetheless, between 300 and 600 were injured, including rioters. The US consulate reported that 40-50 women reported abuse but, Güven emphasizes, these are only reported instances of abuse (Ibid., 55).

[40] Ibid., 92-3. Dilek Güven also points out that Istanbul Expres, the paper which initially printed the news of an attack on Atatürk’s home, was owned by Mithat Perin, a close ally of Prime Minister Menderes and “not a serious paper.” That day, the paper had a dramatically increased press run followed by a special evening edition in which KTC member Kamil Onal stated that the attack was “the last drop the glass can hold” (Ibid., 93). In additional to being a KTC member and a journalist, Onal had also been tied to the National Security Organization (MAH) since his childhood growing up into the Turkish border region of Antakya (Ibid., 75-9).

[41] Özcan, 123; Holland and Markides, 226-7.

[42] The term “palikarya” is specific to Greek soldiers—similar to the Turkish “Mehmetçik,” English “Tommy,” or American “G.I”s.

[43] Though the word “çorbacı” literally means “soup merchant,” in this context it is a term specifically referring to well-off Christian villagers (“Çorbacı,” Osmanlı Tarihi Ansiklopedik).