In order to avoid confusion, ‘social’ will be in parentheses only when referring to social Darwinism in the context of Muhit where references to racist and elitist connotations of social Darwinism were implicit. In other general discussions there will be no parentheses at all. It should be also noted that the ‘social’ in parentheses does not indicate a variation between Darwinism and social Darwinism but instead a positive eugenicist social Darwinism and a negative eugenicist one.
Although the Republican elites were preoccupied with these ideals, the primary concern of this study is (social) Darwinist and eugenic ideas among middle-class families. This distinction is essential, because if this ‘limited’ sphere is disregarded then writing the history of the early Republican period from a (social) Darwinist perspective loses one of its most important objects, families.
The term ‘biological determinism’ is used here in accordance with Gould’s very important work The Mismeasure of Man. Focusing on the innate abilities of intelligence and avoiding eugenics, he nevertheless states the causes of the ‘biological determinism’ underlying the eugenics movement as well. Resurgences of biological determinism ‘correlate with episodes of political retrenchment, particularly with campaigns for reduced government spending on social programs, or at times of fear among ruling elites, when disadvantaged groups sow serious social unrest or even threaten to usurp power.’ For further details of biological determinism in terms of historical and current discussions, see Jay Gould 1996: 19-50 (the quote is on p. 28).
For attempts analysing Turkish modernisation on the basis of social Darwinist ideas, see Alemdaroğlu 2005, Ergin 2008.
Most of the scholarship on eugenics, both within and outside of Turkey, is confined to the works and ideas of intellectuals and their conflicts with each other. Writing the history of eugenics in this manner renders the very masses that these idealistic figures aimed to transform ‘invisible.’ Understanding eugenics through its ultimate end, society, avoids making society into the ‘object’ that it was in the eyes of eugenicist idealists. The need for revision seems evident. See Kevles 1995, Turda 2004. For the Ottoman Turkish contexts, see Doğan 2006; Atabay 2009; Salgırlı-Güvenç 2009.
For an introductory discussion on the impact of Charles Darwin and evolutionary theory on Ottoman intellectuals, see Öktem 1992.
For Ottoman materialists in general and Darwinists in particular prior to the Second Constitutional period, see Hanioğlu 2005; Doğan 2006: 147-203.
Ünder (2008: 428-9) sees the interest in social Darwinism as occurring in two fields, the intellectual and political. Social Darwinism was introduced in intellectual circles during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, and intellectuals armed themselves with social Darwinism during the first decades of the twentieth century.
His articles ‘What Would Be If Man Lived Alone?’ and ‘Man (The Emergence of Man on Earth)’ go beyond most thinkers of the period in tackling these questions. Ahmet Midhat’s ‘Preface’ in Universe is meticulously rich in terms of its distinct emphasis on natural history with overtones of materialism. Although the volume is a translation of the French work L’Univers, which deals with general world history, Midhat’s preface underlines the tendency towards a materialistic standpoint of historiography with an emphasis on natural history on a global scale.
Zafer Toprak (1991: 442) adds that women and family were brought onto the agenda of the new regime during that period.
The interest Unionists had in materialism and social Darwinism was evident during the formation of the new nation state. Hanioğlu brilliantly shows the relation between the Unionists as empire savers who viewed the problem from the viewpoint of the state and their subsequent inclination towards authoritarian theories. For the influence of materialism and social Darwinism on Unionists, see Hanioğlu 2001 and 2006.
The differentiation in the political wings was almost absent in the Turkish eugenic discussions. While British as well as Soviet eugenicists were preoccupied with the ‘political’ aspects of the eugenic policies, Turkish eugenicists were not. For the discussion on parasitology as a link between the eugenics and the Left in Britain, see Stack 2003: 87-9.
For ‘völkisch’ nationalism utilising racial metaphors and Darwinist notions of the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest in Central Europe, see Turda 2004: 23-7.
Instead of the crises of modernity, ‘eugenic movements in Central and Southeast Europe reflected the aspirations of a segment of trained professionals dependent upon the state for funding and legitimacy, and whose main goal was strengthening of their newly created national states’ (Turda and Weindling 2007: 7).
In this context, it is not surprising to see that discourses on Southeastern European countries underwent similar changes firstly in terms of emergence of national identities, and then of national superiority. For the ‘long nineteenth century’ shaping national identities to be followed later by national superiorities, see Mishkova 2009.
It is no coincidence that ‘The primary spokesmen of eugenic discourse in Turkey were a group of medical doctors who had similar educations and political careers’ (Alemdaroğlu 2006: 134). Accordingly, the case of the eugenicists in Central and Southeast Europe was no different.
On both sides of the Atlantic statistics on mental deficiency were strongly class-biased. The more wealthy families somehow escaped the statistics while-lower income groups were recorded. Thus, ‘poverty could with ease be attributed to mental deficiency’ (Kevles 1995: 131).
Considering the fact that most sections in Muhit concerning marriage and conservative gender roles was mostly translated from American magazines of the period, one can discern a common interest in transforming women in line with population concerns in the United States. See the next section.
In order not to lead to any confusion it should be added that the magazine that Ahmet Cevat started published had ‘New’ (Yeni) prior to its name. However for convenience we will refer simply to Muhit instead of Yeni Muhit. In a similar vein, Ahmet Cevat’s surname, Emre, will be omitted for simplicity.
Temuçin F. Ertan (1997: 23) claims that Muhit rapidly evolved from being a magazine to a political and social review. Yet such discussions were almost entirely confined to the editorials of Ahmet Cevat. The subheading of the magazine ‘Monthly Family Magazine’ was replaced with ‘Monthly Family and School Magazine’ from September 1932 onwards.
Graduating from the Ottoman Military College (Harbiye), Ahmet Cevat (Emre) was among those officers of the Hamidian era who were discontent with the authoritarian regime. He was one of the officers exiled to Fezzan, Tripolitania. Following World War I, he became the assistant to Professor Giesse, a scholar of Ural-Altaic languages, and was admitted to Istanbul House of Liberal Arts (Dârülfünûn). Two years later Ahmet Cevat was in Baku in order to participate in the Language Committee studies. He then established close relationships with communists. Having met Mustafa Kemal only in 1928 and then become a member of the Alphabet Commission, Ahmet Cevat became a very prominent figure in the construction of Kemalist ideology in the early 1930s. He is believed to be one of the first to utilise the term ‘Kemalist.’ For brief information on him, see Ertan 1997; Yalansız 1998.
Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Muhit Ne İçin İntişar Ediyor?,’ Muhit, no. 1 (November 1928): 1. All translations from the magazine are mine.
Charles Darwin was one of these ‘Famous Men.’ ‘Meşhur Adamlar: Charles Darwin,’ Muhit, no. 3 (January 1929): 172.
Ertan (1997: 25) rightly states that Muhit was not merely interested in the hot topics of the day, but also contributed to the systemisation and consolidation of the Kemalist ideology
Furthermore he regarded Herbert Spencer as the founder of positivism and evolutionary philosophy: Ahmet Cevat Emre, İki Neslin Tarihi (Istanbul: Hilmi Kitabevi, 1960), p. 77. In the same vein, his flirtation with Communism was short-lived. His interest in socialist ideas was close to evolutionary socialism rather than revolutionary socialism (Ertan 1997: 22).
Ahmet Cevat described human evolution giving examples of homo erectus: pithecanthropus erectus (the Jawa Man), homo heidelbergensis (‘Heidelberg Man’), and Homo neanderthalensis. Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Beşeriyetin Sergüzeşti,’ Muhit, no. 3 (January 1929).
‘Beşeriyetin Sergüzeşti İnsanla Maymun Arasındaki Akrabalık,’ Muhit, no. 4 (February 1929): 277-8. Even though this article lacks author information as well as other references, it is probably a continuation of the article in the previous issue (see above).
Muhit was, in a sense, a pioneer in popularising materialism, particularly Darwinism. In an attempt to challenge religious views and make room for emergent Turkish nationalism in history, a four-volume history book influenced by Darwinist principles was published in 1931 by the Society for Research of Turkish History (renamed the Turkish Historical Society in 1932). While the volumes were intended to be high school textbooks, textbooks based on the volume were published from 1933 onwards for primary and elementary schools (Toprak 2012: 362-67).
‘İnsana Benzeyen Yeni Bir Maymun,’ Muhit, no. 8 (June 1929). The article was published by courtesy of Scherl’s Magazin and Illustration.
Being a racist and anti-Semitist, Montandon evidently assembled the hoax on the basis of racist ideas about the origins of the man. Montandon used the hoax to support his view that human races evolved from different primates. While the white race evolved from Homo sapiens, the primate François de Loys found in 1920 served to argue that native American people had evolved from that primate. The article in the magazine made no references to François De Loys. Isabelle Girod and Pierre Cenlivres, ‘George Montandon et le grand singe américain. L’invention de l’Ameranthropoides loysi,’ Gradhiva, no. 24 (January 1999).
Popular science articles on human evolution and population continued to appear until the end of the magazine. Translated articles dealing with creation of mankind, creatures acting like humans, anthropoids, and inherited similarities served to popularise the materialist/Darwinist discourse that the Kemalist regime attempted to spread. See, ‘İnsan Gibi Hareket Eden Mahlûklar,’ Muhit, no. 40 (February 1932); ‘İnsanımsı Maymunların İnsan Oluşu,’ Muhit, no. 41 (March 1932); ‘Miras Alınan Benzeyişler – Irk ve cinsiyet meselesinin îzahı,’ Muhit, no. 42 (April 1932); ‘Nüfus ve Hayat Meselesi – Medeni Dünyada İnsanın Vasati Ömrü Uzuyor,’ Muhit, no. 42 (April 1932). In a similar vein, the origins of mankind in apes were demonstrated by Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov, a Russian microbiologist who was awarded a Nobel prize. ‘Bir Fen Adamının Nikbin Felsefesi,’ Muhit, no. 18 (April 1930). ‘Haşarat ve İnsanlar,’ Muhit, no. 19 (May 1930).
The magazine’s translation portfolio was quite rich. Most articles on science, health, and beauty were translations. The repeated emphasis on motherhood and womanhood was thus part of a more global trend. The translated articles come from various magazines, including American ones such as Woman’s Pictorial Review, Home Companion, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, The House Beautiful, American Magazine, Graphic, Reader’s Digest, Sphere, Child’s Magazine, The World Tomorrow, Wide World, World’s Work Parents’ Magazine Modern Priscilla, Atlantic Monthly and French ones such as La Femme de France, Lectures pour Tous, Le Miroir du Monde, Je Sais Tout, Science et la Vie, L’art Vivant, L’Illustration, Lisez moi Bleu. The translations from German were confined however to only a few magazines, namely Scherl’s Magazin, Uhu, and Das Magazin.
Also marriages were covered as much as motherhood. The articles in the fourth issue elucidate this case. The headings were, ‘Successful Marriages,’ ‘Parents Successful in Disciplining Chidren,’ and ‘What do you complain about in your marriage life?’ Articles about marriage might have been intended to influence the marriages of the Republican families against the impact of the ‘American’ culture of the period. ‘Muvaffak Olmuş İzdivaçlar,’ ‘Evlat Terbiyesinde Muvaffakiyetli Anababalar,’ ‘Evlilik Hayatında Şikayet Ettiğiniz Şey Nedir?,’ Muhit, no. 4 (February 1929).
Kathleen Norris, ‘Anne Olmak Bahtiyarlığı,’ Muhit, no. 6 (April 1929). The quotation is on pp. 408-9. Tributes to motherhood were not confined to the conservative American discourse of the period. ‘Becoming a good mother,’ stated Tunakan in 1938, ‘and raising fit children should be the greatest pride for a young girl’ (quoted in Öztan 2006: 275).
The Turkish word terbiye is very difficult to translate into English. The original phrase is çocuk terbiyesi and what Cevat meant is to a certain extent related to pedagogy, but his discussion goes beyond the scope of that discipline. In this article we will translate this word – the meanings of which cover upbringing, training, educating, maintenance, teaching manners, correction, punishment, culture, good manners, decency, proper way of conduct, socialization, and discipline – as ‘discipline.’ See 2005: 74 n. 1.
Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Çocuk Asrı,’ Muhit, no. 6 (April 1929): 401. The subheading of the editorial was ‘The Ideal of the Overman – The Need to Create Creative Minds.’ Although Ahmet Cevat did not explicitly acknowledge the Nietzschean term, the latter issues thanks toan author’s reference to Ahmet Cevat on this notion, shows that the term is used regardless of references to Nietzsche.
The original statement is as follows: ‘Köylü ve şehirli, aristokrat ve burjua, [sic] ve burjua ve proleter - proleter ve serseri bu sınıflar arasında ne derin farklar var. Bedence ve dimağca farklar!’ Ibid.
The original author was a female doctor named ‘Zelheym’ in Turkish. İhsan Hadi, ‘Nişanlılık Nedir? Ve Uzun Sürmeli midir?,’ Muhit, no. 8 (June 1929).
By legal deficiencies Nadi meant the absence of legal provisions protecting husband and wide. For instance, the author was discontent that there was not legal protection for a woman who divorced her husbands but was transmitted syphilis or gave birth to children by an epileptic and drunk husband. Young people’, as the author indicates is in line with the ideas of Havelock Ellis. For a brief discussion on this British intellectual see Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity: 85-92. For the postulates of evolutionary thought on sex, one of the major topics in which Ellis was profoundly interested, see Stack, The First Darwinian Left: 58-60.
Hadi, ‘Nişanlılık Nedir? Ve Uzun Sürmeli midir?,’ 617.
The original statement is ‘Nişanlılar serbestçe buluşabilirler; fakat nişanlı kız, müstakbel zevcine karşı göstereceği temayül ve aşkın derecesini bilmeli; genç erkek de kadın faziletinin kudsiyetini ihlâl edecek herhangi bir taşkınlıktan sakınmalıdır. Çünkü bu esnada atılmış yanlış adımlarım cezası ileride pek ağır çekilmektedir. Yağni [sic.] eğer kız, erkeğin ancak hakkı zevciyetle tesahup edebileceği şeylere karşı nişanlı iken lakayt kalmışsa genç erkek nişanlısına olan bütün hürmeti kaybeder. Veyahut evlendikten sonar bunu hissettirir.’ Ibid.
This concern was to solidify in the 1930s and early 1940s. For a section called ‘Why do they not Marry?’ (‘Niçin Evlenmezler?’), see Sadi Irmak, ‘Kemmiyet ve Keyfiyet Bakımından Nüfus ve Sağlık Meseleleri’ in Kendimize Doğru Memleketimizin Bazı Meseleleri (Istanbul: Foto Magazin Basımevi, 1943), 61-67.
The publication of an interview with Besim Ömer (Akalın) in the magazine was thus not surprising. ‘Besim Ömer Paşa - 44 Senelik bir Profesörümüz,’ Muhit, no. 12 (October 1929).
According to Gökalpian thinking, the idea of the nuclear, family, which was based on egalitarian principles and upheld the components of national morality, was important since it constituted the cell of the social organism and the building-block of the nation state in a Durkheimian sense. Toprak, ‘The Family, Feminism, and the State During the Young Turk Period, 1908-1918,’ p. 444. According to Duben and Behar, the ideal family here was an extention of Gökalpian thinking, which urged adapting European elements while maintaining the basic elements of the Turks’ own culture in which the family was a local cultural element (Duben and Behar 1991: 211-13).
‘Muaşeret Adabı,’ Muhit, no. 8 (June 1929). The article, enhanced by illustrations, was taken Scherl’s Magazin.
‘Ev Eczahanesi,’ Muhit, no. 8 (June 1929).
Alemdaroğlu (2006: 138) argues that Turkish eugenicists’ ideas on women echoed the German eugenic policies, and states that ‘the majority of women were still expected to contribute to modernisation by being good mothers and housewives.’
This ‘double discourse’ was not entirely confined to population concerns. ‘The nationalist discourse still imposed on women the duty of enlightened motherhood and ‘rationalized’ housekeeping, which provided the ultimate justification for their education’ (Alemdaroğlu 2005: 66).
‘Besim Ömer Paşa - 44 Senelik bir Profesörümüz,’ p. 893. In fact both methods were simultaneously employed during the first decades of the Republic.
The statement in Turkish is: ‘Bugün her ıklimin [sic.] semeresi, her sanatın mahsulü, her toprağın sermayesi gencin ayağı altındadır. İşte bütün bunlardan istifade ancak kuvvette, kuvvet ise sıhhattadır [sic.]. Burada meşhur İngliz Filozofu Spenser in [sic.] “Her şeyden evvel iyi bir hayvan olunuz” cümlesini tekrar ve buna “Türk gibi kavi olunuz” darbı meselini ilâve etmek isterim.’ Ibid.
Ibid., 893. The quotation in Turkish is: ‘Cumhuriyet hükûmeti, artık, evlâtları arasında kanbur, cılız, zayıf, budala, ahmak görmek istemez. Çocuklarımız kavi, zinde, zeki olmalıdır. Memleketin istikbali, Cumhuriyetimizin bakası kavi Türk omuzlarında olmalıdır.’
For thin people, semirmek, gaining weight in a healthy way, was a must for becoming fit. Selim Sırrı (Tarcan), ‘Zayıflar Nasıl Kuvvetlenir?,’ Muhit, no. 5 (March 1930).
The emphasis on the physical education of youth would reach a peak in the late 1930s following the enforcement of the Law for Physical Education in 1938. With that regulation, sports was no longer seen simply as a means for health and beauty, as Selim Sırrı did in the account above, but as a method to create a militarized society. See Akın 2004: 87-121.
Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Çocuk Meselesi,’ Muhit, no. 31 (May 1931): 1. The Population question was to persist until the late 1930s. For a similar discussion, see Saraç Ömer Celal, ‘Avrupanın ve Türkiyenin Nüfus Meseleleri,’ in C.H.P. Konferanslar Serisi 9 (Ankara: Recep Uluoğlu Basımevi, 1939), pp. 51-68.
‘[…] German and American women are very skilled in the art of motherhood. Generally, European women’s childcare skills are higher than ours. In our country, only the girls who graduate from high schools and colleges have been prepared to a certain extent to become good babysitters and mothers, yet even if we assumed that all of them receive an ideal motherhood training, their numbers are limited.’ Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Çocuk Meselesi,’ 1. It is apparent that the class that was meant to increase was that of the educated, notwithstanding its limited size. In a similar vein, this statement underlies Ahmet Cevat’s discontent with this minority’s low marriage frequency.
Ibid., p. 3. The totalitarian shift associated with children’s education and morality was on the rise in the 1930s. As with physical education, the Kemalist regime envisioned a child morality in organic solidarity with the nation. For such authoritarian developments in the field of physical education, see Akın 2004: 142-90.
Although the idea of increasing the peasant masses seems at odds with eugenicist thought, Fahreddin Kerim Gökay’s remark is in line with the fundaments of pro-natalist policies. From the viewpoint of eugenic principles, protecting genetic material from extinction and degeneration required a population increase. The emphasis on peasants may also have been due to their relatively pristine genetic material. For a discussion of the survival of the species see Fahrettin Kerim Gökay, ‘Irk Hıfzısıhhasında İrsiyetin Rolü ve Nesli Tereddiden Korumak Çareleri,’ in C.H.P. Konferanslar Serisi 12 (Ankara: Recep Uluoğlu Basımevi, 1940), 11.
Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Köylüye Biraz Refah Vermek için Küçük Tedbirler,’ Muhit, no. 15 (January 1930): 1121.
The quotation in Turkish is ‘Köylünün en fakir tabakaları devlete o cûz’i vergiyi verebilmek için kendi yiyeceği ve çocuğuna yedireceği gıdayı pazara götürü satmak, bâzan bu da kifayet etmiyerek [sic.] şehre geli hammallık, uşaklık, ırgatlık etmek mecburiyetindedir. Köylünün en fakir kısımları doyasıya ekmek bulamıyor, çocuğuna süt veremiyor, yumurta yediremiyor. Milletin cüssessini teşkileden [sic.] köylü kütlelerinden bu elim vaziyeti Irkın Fisiolojik sefaletten kurtulamamasına, nüfusun artmamasına en müessir amillerdir. Köylüye istenildiği kadar çocuğa nasıl bakılacağını, sıtmadan veya veremden nasıl korunacağını öğretmek için büyük masraflarla teşkilatlar vücuda getirilsin… analar memeden kestikleri yavrularını besliyemedikten [sic.] sonar hepsi nafiledir. Ibid., 1122. Original emphasis.
Selim Sırrı (Tarcan), ‘Güzel ve Güzellik,’ Muhit, no. 17 (March 1930): 1302-03. The Turkish word hıfzısıhha is translated here as ‘general health’ despite its frequent translation as hygiene. Apparently the meanings that Selim Sırrı gives go beyond mere hygiene measures.
The 43rd issue groups these kinds of articles under the heading ‘Knowledge and Science.’ This heading does not occur again, except the 46th issue, which has the headings ‘Scientific Discussions’ and ‘Scientific Pages’.
(Social) Darwinist principles were not common, but there was a certain degree of Lamarckian arguments. As İsmail Hakkı argued, ‘Therefore what determines the future is not heredity. It has been argued that children sometimes inherit a strong tendency towards particular acts such as suicide, murder, theft or abuse.’ İsmail Hakkı (Tonguç), ‘Tekamül Vetiresi ve Pedagoji,’ Yeni Türk Mecmuası, no. 4 (January 1933).
İsmail Hakkı (Baltacıoğlu) wrote six episodes on the issue between July 1935 and September 1935. For the first article of the episode see İsmail Hakkı (Baltacıoğlu), ‘Gençlik için Büyük Tehlikeler Var mıdır?,’ Yeni Adam, no. 79 (July 4, 1935): 10.
Nevzat Mahmut, ‘Anormal Mektepçocukları,’ Muhit, no. 6 (April 1929).
The article was quite contradictory. On the one hand, Nevzat Mahmut appraised the developments in pedagogy that bridged the gap between methods aimed at normal and abnormal children, and thus relegated differences to a minor importance. On the other hand he proposed separate schools for the abnormal who, he believed, deserved to lead the happy childhood that they would not otherwise have. The Turkish reads: ‘Taliin yüzçevirdiği [sic] bu yavruları çocukluklarında olsun biraz bahtiyar etmek, hayatta bulamiyacakları [sic] saadetten biraz olsun tattırmak insanî bir vazife değil midir?’ Ibid., p. 439.
İhsan Şükrü (Aksel), ‘Deliliğin Sebepleri,’ Muhit, no. 18 (April 1930): 1382.
Fahrettin Kerim (Gökay), ‘Mekteplerde Çocukları Sınıfta Bırakan Sıhhi Sebepler Nedir?,’ Muhit, no. 19 (May 1930): 19, 79.
Mebrure Hurşit (Alevok), ‘Etfal Hastanesinde ve Darülacezede Gördüklerim,’ Muhit, no. 31 (May 1931): 10-12.
‘Evlenmeden - Evlenmenin Bütün Şartı: Sağlamlıktır,’ Muhit, no. 33 (July 1931): 58-9.
Adnan Naci described ‘psychopathic’ children as children ‘who are very fit in terms of intellect but lacking in morals. In other words, they are the kids who started stealing when very young, made a habit of lying, absconded from school.’ Adnan Naci, ‘İzmir Sağır Dilsizler ve Körler Mektebinde Gördüklerim,’ Muhit, no. 35 (September 1931): 17. There were 65 students in total and five of them, who were classified as ‘stupid,’ attended an experimental class along with ten blind children. ‘Stupid’ here refers to ‘aptal’ in Turkish.
Emphasis added. ‘Stupidity’ appears indeterminate even in a school specialised for the ‘stupid.’ Ibid., 18. The School also focused on the hereditary ‘stupidity.’ For further information on this school, see Necati Kemal (Kip), ‘Sağır, Dilsiz, körler ve aptalları ihtiva eden Anormal çocuklar müessesesinin onuncu yıl dönümü,’ in Sıhhat Almanakı (ed.), Mazhar Osman (Istanbul: Kader Matbaası, 1933). The requirement of being Turkish and the consequent acceleration of racism was evident in the 1930s. In addition to this school, the Mineral Research and Exploration Institute, Military Colleges and War Academies indicated ‘being of Turkish race’ as one of their admission prerequisites (Arslan 2008: 410).
‘Sokak Çocuklarını Cinayetlerden Kurtarmak için Çocuk Mahkemeleri ve Kurtarış Tecrübeleri,’ Muhit, no. 37 (November 1931).
‘Hırsızların Cerrah Neşteriyle Tedavisi,’ Muhit, no. 26 (December 1930): 34-37. As the article pointed out, the most important spot was believed to be the thyroid gland.
M. Remzi Turan, ‘Veremin Sirayeti,’ Muhit, no. 37 (November 1931).
At the first congress held by the Society for Research on Turkish Society, a couple years before the formation of the Turkish Historical Thesis and the Sun Language Theory, there were two hypotheses awaiting evidence. The first was that Turkish was the first mother language of all the world’s languages, and the second one was the hypothesis that Turks were representatives of the Arian race that created civilisation (Arslan 2008: 412).
‘Hititlerin San'atından Birkaç Numune,’ Muhit, no. 27 (January 1931): p. 56.
His response was ‘perhaps.’ Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Sümerliler ve Medeniyete Hizmetleri,’ Muhit, no. 35 (September 1931): p. 3.
A pseudo-scientific proof came in the next issue. Basing himself on archaeological remnants of the Sumerians, Ahmet Cevat argued that Sumerians were of a white race instead of the Semitic race. The justification was that ‘the statutes and reliefs show them [Sumerians] as a beautiful white race. Even though Semitic races were represented with sharp and long beards, Sumerians are mostly without beards.’ Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Sümerlilerin Menşei,’ Muhit, no. 36 (October, 1931): p. 5.
Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Sümerlilerin Lisanı,’ Muhit, no. 37 (November, 1931); Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Sümerlilerin Lisanı,’ Muhit, no. 38 (December, 1931); Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Sümerlilerin Lisanı,’ Muhit, no. 39 (January, 1932). Although Ahmet Cevat indicated that the discussion would continue, there was no continuation. Ahmet Cevat called Mohenjo-daro, an ancient archaeological site discovered in Baluchistan in 1922, the ‘sister’ of Sumerian civilisation. More importantly, he stated that ‘it was discovered that the pictographs, which were not decrypted then, had a very close relationship with the Sumerian civilisation, also known as the first Turkish civilisation.’ Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘Hindistan Mesopotamyası,’ Muhit, no. 42 (April 1932): p. 17.
Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘En Eski Türk Yazısının Tarihi - 1,’ Muhit, no. 52 (February 1933). Not only was the Sumerian language incorporated into the mythic Turkish past, the Sumerians themselves became ‘Sumerian Turks.’ Ahmet Cevat (Emre), ‘En Eski Türk Yazısının Tarihi - 2,’ Muhit, no. 53 (March 1933).
Ahmet Cevat’s articles on (social) Darwinism were last articles of Muhit before publication ceased in May 1933, after the 55th issue. It is probable that Ahmet Cevat no longer had time to administer it, as his title on the back page of the magazine, ‘franchise owner,’ was followed by ‘Deputy of Çanakkale’ in March 1933. Ertan claims that Ahmet Cevat withdrew from political discourse since the consolidation of the single-party regime meant that it no longer needed such legitimisation (Ertan 1997: 34).Haut de page