201. Today in 1920s Turkey: 14 July 1927 (Recognizing 6 Months of Publishing)

Photo-illustrated snippet, published in Nasrettin Hoca, 14 July 1927, no. 55, page 3.


Nasrettin Hoca Yedinci Ayında

Nasrettin Hoca altıncı ayını evvelki hafta bitirdi. İlk altı aylık kolleksiyonu tamam oldu. Bu kadar kısa zaman zarfında Nasrettin Hoca’nın gazetesi de kendisini olduğu gibi ne memleket içinde, ne de memleketin dışında ta Arnavutluk’tan tut da, Acemistan’a, Suriye’ye, Yemen’e kadar tanımayan, sevmeyen kalmadı. Hoca’nız gazetesine gösterilen bu teveccühe layik olmak için şimdilik hiç bir gazetenin elinden gelmeyen bir fedakarlık yapıyor:

Her nüshasının resimlerini renkli olarak çıkarıyor. Nasrettin Hoca bundan sonra da kaynana tandırı gibi senelerce yerinden kımıldanamayan gazetelere benzemeyerek yeni fedakarlık yapacaktır. Hocaya bu fedakarlıkları yaptıran gördüğü rağbetin gittikçe artmasıdır. Bu rağbet İstanbul’daki muharrirleri, mürettipleri, makinecileri gibi memleketin dört bir tarafında da Nasrettin Hoca’yı satan binlerce Türk gencini geçindirmektedir.

Altyazı: İzmir’de Nasrettin Hoca’yı satanlardan Nazmi Efendi


Nasrettin Hoca Is in Its Seventh Month

Last week Nasrettin Hoca finished off its sixth month. Its first six-month collection is complete. In such a short period of time, there remains nobody domestically or abroad (from Albania to Persia, to Syria, to Yemen) who hasn’t come to know and love his namesake newspaper as much as they love Nasrettin Hoca himself. In order to deserve the attention directed toward his paper, our Hoca is making a sacrifice that no other paper has been able to do:

Each issue’s pictures are printed in color. After this, too, Nasrettin Hoca is going to make new sacrifices, unlike the other papers who never change for years. What makes the Hoca undertake these sacrifices is the increased popularity he’s experiencing. This demand sustains the lives of the writers, typesetters, and machine operators in Istanbul as well as the thousands of Turkish youngsters across the country selling Nasrettin Hoca.

Caption: Nazmi Efendi one of Nasrettin Hoca’s sellers in Izmir.


Occasionally papers publish self-referential content, which can include enormously valuable information about the processes involved in publishing, journalism, news aggregation, editorial decision making, and of course, sales. One such example can be found in the centerfold of this issue of the relatively new “political and satirical gazette,” Nasrettin Hoca. Here, the occasion for the snippet is identified as Nasrettin Hoca’s completion of its first six months of publishing. (This is confirmed in its issue number, 55, which corresponds to their Monday and Thursday biweekly publishing schedule.)

The snippet highlights the popularity of the paper and its wide domestic and international reach, citing a number of other countries in which the issues are sold, read, or received. It also draws our attention to a certain degree of demand to which the paper is responding with its own “sacrifice” (fedakarlık) including publishing their pictures in color. This claim, however, is a bit misleading as only the cover pictures have been printed in color, and not those featured on pages 2–4. Nevertheless, this is a great achievement and a valuable selling point for the paper that is worthy of mention. The paper promises more “sacrifices,” although no further details are provided.

Confident in its popularity at its half-year point, the relative newbie Nasrettin Hoca criticizes older, more established gazettes for never changing by comparing them to “unmoving mother-in-laws.” For the sake of readability, I simplified the English translation of what was “unlike the other papers who, like a [kaynana tandırı], never move from their places for years.” Because stopping to explain kaynana tandırı, a term even I am not sure about, would have broken the flow. The kaynana part is clear, a mother-in-law. Tandır, on the other hand is not so easily explained. It is an earthenware oven made in a hole in the ground and used for cooking and/or a (subterranean?) heating device used in the winter. Both possibilities can be rather large and heavy, and certainly unmovable if imagined as a hole in the ground. Either way, underscoring the unmoving nature of the mother-in-law and/or oven was the point of the example/idiom, which I had never encountered before.

The accompanying illustration consists of a photograph of a paperboy identified as “Nazmi Efendi” who is holding papers in both hands. It is not uncommon for papers to include pictures of their most successful paperboys. Such was the case with several examples discussed in past posts (#6, #49, and #200). In addition to celebrating the paperboys, these examples usually mention related topics like paper sales, the importance of literacy, and the value of hard work. In today’s example the text emphasizes that Nasrettin Hoca’s popularity among readers means that everyone working for the paper, including “thousands of Turkish youngsters” are able to earn a living. Thus, Nazmi Efendi’s picture is included as an example of one such enterprising youth working out of Izmir.

Centerfold, Nasrettin Hoca, 14 July 1927, no. 55, pages 2–3. Hakkı Tarık Us Collection, Beyazıt Library, Istanbul.



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Yasemin Gencer

Yasemin Gencer

I am an independent scholar of Islamic art and civilization specializing in the history of Ottoman and modern Turkish art and print culture.