Two Young Ottomanists Discover Kemalist Turkey: The Travel Diaries of Robert Anhegger and Andreas Tietze

Today I stumbled upon a fascinating read concerning the early years of the Turkish Republic. The piece is put together by Erik-Jan Zürcher from Leiden University and is based on the 1936-37 travel diaries of Robert Anhegger and Andreas Tietze.

Here are a few tidbits:

There the Kemalists were creating a new Turkey according to their vision of modernity. Three features seem to have been common to all new towns: Firstly, a European-type municipal park (belediye parkí), with flower beds, fountains and tea gardens; secondly, a statue of the Gazi, the president of the republic; and thirdly, a cinema, which in most towns could still only show silent pictures.

The old method of measuring time (dependent on the numbers of hours of daylight) is still in universal use. When people use the European clock (which had been adopted officially in Turkey in 1926 along with the Christian era) they always mention that they mean “alafranga” time.