Category Archives: Modern Turkish History

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 […]

Coalition of the Unwilling

  On May 27, 1960, the Turkish military decisively entered national politics, easily removing the ruling Democrat Party from power. Leaders of the coup explained they had acted to “extricate” the political class from its divisive conflicts; extricating themselves proved far more difficult. Transitioning back to a state of affairs even resembling civilian-led government necessitated something utterly […]

The Şükrü Kaya Problem

  Mehmet Şükrü Kaya’s political career came to an end on November 11, 1938.[1] A day earlier, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey’s first president, had passed away, leaving Kaya in a difficult position. Since 1927, Kaya had served as Ataturk’s Minister of the Interior and, during those years, his power had grown. Understandably, as Ataturk had […]

Where to Draw the Line: Political Cartoons in Turkey

      How long should Musa Kart go to jail for drawing a cartoon implying the prime minister of Turkey is a crook? According to Turkish prosecutors, somewhere between nine and ten years.   Though the case was thrown out on the first day of trial, it received coverage from international papers and drew […]

The Realm of the Ugly King

  On a September evening in 1974, Yılmaz Pütün was arrested for murdering a local judge at a seaside Turkish casino. An argument between Pütün’s table and the judge’s had quickly escalated to the point where Pütün had pulled out a gun and demanded everyone sit back down. When the judge confronted Pütün, demanding the […]

Youth in Revolt

  Deniz Gezmiş, “The Turkish Che Guevarra” When the Turkish police finally moved into Istanbul’s Taksim Square, after a week of protests and occupation, one of their first actions was to cut down the accumulation of posters hanging from the Ataturk Cultural Center. Since protesters had taken control of the square, one group after another […]

Ninety Years Since What? Framing the Birth of the Turkish Republic

On a Sunday night in late October 1923, eight men met for dinner in the Ankara home of Mustafa Kemal, the president of the Turkish assembly. These included the president himself as well as the prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister, two generals, and the commandant for the city.[1] The following morning, the People’s Party, of […]