52. Today in 1920s Turkey: 15 January 1925 (Alcohol and Astronomy Don’t Mix)

Yasemin Gencer
2 min readJan 16, 2017


Cartoon by Cemal Nadir (Güler), Resimli Dünya, 15 January 1925, no. 7, page 1. Atatürk Library, Istanbul.

Sarhoş: Şu ayla yıldızları nasıl keşf ettiklerine şaşmıyorum, isimlerini nasıl bulmuşlar ona aklım ermiyor!!

Drunkard: How they found the moon and the stars does not surprise me, it’s how they found their names that I cannot understand!!

This cover of Resimli Dünya, a weekly children’s magazine, features a full-page, color illustration of a star-gazing drunkard. Reclining on a rocky outcrop like a magnificent male odalisque, the inebriate raises an open wine bottle to the stars in a toast. The text below the cartoon includes the drunk man’s comical thoughts regarding man’s audacious “naming” practices of celestial bodies so far from the home domain, Earth.

The cartoonist, Cemal Nadir Güler’s signature can be found close to the man’s extended foot, near the lower left corner of the image. In this period, the cartoonist explores a range of themes including substance abuse and poverty and he leans toward a flavor of dark humor. In today’s case, the theme of alcoholism is meant to discourage this magazine’s readership (i.e. children) from partaking in such self-destructive habits. He uses a satire and humor, a more light-hearted approach, to deliver his message while entertaining his readers. Alcohol was formally banned in 1920, however, the ban was lifted in April 1924. A 1920s Turkey post about this brief brush with prohibition can be viewed in post #80. Resimli Dünya’s cover art focusing on this subject matter was published roughly nine months following the lifting of the ban; thus, the cartoon of the alcohol-soak man may have comprised a cautionary vignette of the consequences of alcohol availability and unchecked addiction.

Since this is a cover page, the journal’s masthead is located above the cartoon. The globe fitted with telegraph wires and centered between the words [رسملی] Resimli and [دنیا] Dünya relates directly to the journal’s name, “The Illustrated World.” Above the masthead illustration is pertinent information related to the issue, from right to left it reads:

“Number: 7 first year | Its price is 5 kuruş everywhere. | 15 January 1925”
“Sayı: 7 birinci sene | Fiyatı her yerde 5 kuruştur. | 15 Kanun-ı Sani 1341”

Originally published at https://steemit.com on January 16, 2017.



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.