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Page history last edited by Michael 1 year, 1 month ago

     Information from the World Almanac and Book of Facts for 1932:



Foreign Countries -- Turkey.                                                          715       




































AREA, approximately 282,627 square miles. In Europe, 8,819 square miles; in Asia, 273,808.


POPULATION, census of Oct. 26, 1927, 13,660,275..


CAPITAL, Ankara (Angora) in Anatolia, population, Census, Oct., 1927, 74,789. Chief city, Istanbul (Constantinople), population, Census, Oct., 1927, 673,029. Other cities:   Izmir (Smyrna), population, Census, 1927, 153,845; Bursa (Brusa), 61,450; Adana, 72,052; Konya (Konia), 47,286; Gazi antep (Aintab), 39,571; Kayserl (Caesarea), 39,544; and Edirne (Adrianople), 45,669.


Prisident and Commander-in-Chief, Mustapha Kema-Pasha Ghazi, born 1880, elected August 1923, reelected for four hears Nov. 1, 1927; again reelected for four years, May 4, 1931.


Premier, Izmet Pasha, Mar. 4, 1925.


Governor of Istanbul (Constantinople), Emin Bey.


Grand National Assembly at Ankara has complete control. The Assembly on Nov. 2, 1922, declared itself vested with sovereign rights, that the Sultanate be abolished, that the present Sultan be deposed as Caliph (spiritual head of Islam), and on March 2, 1924, deposed his successor and declared the Caliphate vested in the Assembly.


   Up to the beginning of the World War, Turkey, or the Ottoman Empire, included European Turkey, Anatolia, Arabia, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia, Armenia and Kurdistan, also groups of islands in the Aegean Sea.

   So late at 1916, the area of the Turkish Empire totalled about 710,224 square miles, with about 21,273,900 of population. Cyprus and Egypt had passed to British domination -- Cyprus annexed, and Egypt under a protectorate. There remained, there-fore, in the Turkish Empire, 19,882 square miles of are with 1,891,000 of population in and around Constantinople and Adrianople on the north of the Straits; in Asia Minor, including Izmi- (Izmid), opposite Istanbul, Bursa (Brusa), Bigha-Ismire (Smyrna), Iastamonu, Ankara (Angora), Konya (Konia), Adana, Sivas and Trabzon (Trebizonde), 199,272 square


miles, with 10,186,900 of population; Armenia and Kurdistan, 71,900 square miles, with 2,000,000 of population; Mesopotamia, 143,250 square miles, with 2,000,000 of population; Syria, 114,530 square miles, with 3,675,100 of population; and the Jejaz and Yemin in Arabia, 170,300 square miles, with 1,050,000 of population; a total of 710,224 square miles, with 21,273 of population.

   In Asia, a part of Armenia has adopted a Soviet government and is at least in harmonious agreement with Soviet Russia. Syria has passed under the mandate of France (which see); Mesopotamia has been created the dependent kingdom of Iraq (which see); Palestine under the mandate of Great Britain (which see); and Arabia (which see) has asserted its independence as the Kingdom of the Hejas and the Nejd, the Imamate of Yemen and other divisions.

   The Balkan wars of 1913 had reduced the European area dominated by Turkey, leaving her only that part of Thrace from Adrianople east to the Black Sea and south to Enos on the Aegean; but it left her completely the mistress of the Straits of the Dardanelles.

   The Treaty of Sevres (Paris), following the World War, further dim-inished Turkish territory, giving all Thrace to Greece except for a triangle thirty miles by forty, containing an neutral zone along the immediate border of the Dardanelles, the Sea of Marmara and the Bosphorus on both the European and the Asiatic sides, to secure equal passage rights to all nations. All fortifications were to be demolished. The Straits were to remain open in peace and in war for all craft, and to be neutral in time of war. They were not to be subject to blockade  or other hostile acts.

   A Commission  of the Straits was named to have complete control of the navigation of the Straits, but Constantinople was to return to Turkish administration.

     The Allied occupation of Constantinople became complete on March 16, 1920.

   The real power in the Turkish Empire was seized by the Grand Nat-ional Assembly and a responsible Ministry set up by the Nationalists at Ankara, in Anatolia, which was the most genuinely Turkish section of the old Ottoman Empire, after the last chamber of Deputies, sitting in Constantinople, was dissolved April 11, 1920. The Assembly voted on Jan. 20, 1921, a Fundamental Law, which was in fact a new Con-stitution for Turkey. It declared that all sovereignty belonged to the people and that all power was vested in its representatives -- the Grand National Assembly. It provided for universal suffrage without religious or race distinction and recognized the right of minorities to freedom and protection. It contained a program of social reform.

   The success of Mustafa Khemal Pasha, soldier and able diplomatist, who was chosen President of the Assembly and Commander-in-Chief, in driving out the Greeks in 1922 from Smyrna (formerly with a pop-ulation of 225,000, now about 150,000) and its hinterland, establish-ing his army on the Straits, negotiating the Lausanne Treaty (which the United States Senate failed to ratify on Jan. 18, 1927), to replace the discarded Treaty of Sevres, will be found in the article on Turkey in The World Almanac of 1925.

   The modus vivendi was extended to June 1, 1928, by an agreement between Turkey and the United States on Feb. 17, 1927, and provision made for resuming diplomatic and consular relations. Joseph C. Grew was appointed Ambassador to Turkey May 20, 1927.

   Turkey in Europe is now slightly larger than Massachusetts, and the entire Turkish Republic is slightly larger than California and New Mexico combined. On the west the Bulgarian boundary runs from the mouth of the Rezvaya River on the Black Sea to the Maritza River, fifteen miles northwest of Adrianople; and the Greek boundary follows that river to Enos on the Aegean, except for the Town of Karagatch. On the east the Russian boundary runs from just south of Batum to the northwest corner of Persia. The Persian boundary con-tinues from near Mount Ararat to the Iraq at the Mosul line delimited in 1926 by treaty agreement with Great Britain. (see Iraq.) The southern (Syrian) boundary runs from Payas on the Gulf of Alexandretta to the Iraq, and, with the Mosul line, runs practically due east and west, There are seventy-two vilayets or provinces.




   In October, 1925, a new Constitution was adopted proclaiming the Republic of Turkey with a President elected for four years. The National Assembly com-posed of 283 Deputies elected for four years, will have legislative powers only, the executive powers being





      716                                                            Foreign Countries -- Turkey. 


intrusted to a Cabinet responsible to the Assembly. A Council of State, the members appointed by the President, will fulfil the functions usually cared for by a parliamentary Upper House.

   New laws enacted in 1925 abolished polygamy, enforced registra-tion of marriage, and gave the power to grant divorces to the Presi-dent. This, Kemal Pasha promptly took advantage of by divorcing his wife, Latife Hanoum, twenty-two years old, an advanced feminist. Turks have generally followed his advice and adopted hats in place of the fez, held an emblem of the old regime, and the turban.

   The National Assembly in 1926 adopted three new codes of law; the civil code was taken from Switzerland, the criminal code from Italy, and the commercial code from Germany, all with but little change. The codes are independent of religion, and the civil code replaces the var-ious bodies of laws and codes that had grown up based on the Koran; it deals with the law of persons, of the family, of inheritance, and of property. It abolished both polygamy and slavery by tacit omission. As Turkey denounced the Capitulations on entering the war and as this act was incorporated in the Lausanne treaty, the adoption of these codes is of the utmost importance. The Swiss civil code was chosen, said Mahmoud Essad, Minister of Justice, because it was "the newest and most perfect and democratic." Switzerland adopted it after seven years of discussion, Dec. 10, 1921. The new penal code modeled after the German was put in force Aug. 20, 1929.

   The Gregorian calendar was adopted, also the twenty-four hour clock. Civil marriages were made obligatory after Sept. 1, 1926, though a religious ceremony may follow it if desired. The legal marriage age under the new law is seventeen for women and eighteen for men. Public declaration of intention must be made fifteen days before the ceremony.

   The National Assembly unanimously passed in April 1928 a bill amending the constitution by eliminating the article declaring that Islam is the religion of the Republic. In April 1928 the Assembly enacted the substitution of the Roman alphabet and characters for the Arabic in all official documents. Kemal Pasha declared the Arabic characters "responsible for 80% of Turk illiteracy." A new dictionary has been prepared and new textbooks for schools. Fifteen years will be allowed the people to become accustomed to the new system before its use becomes compulsory. The change from Turkish figures to the so-called Arabic figures used in the West has already been widely made. The new alpha-bet omits Q and W and X. It adds a C and a S each with a cedilla, a G with an accent, and I, O, and U, each with two dots above like the umlaut.

   The Government printing office turned out editions of 323 books in Latin characters in the first year. Free books were provided for poor youths.

   Strenuous efforts were made to teach adults the new alphabet and to read and write, for the law of 1928 provided that all citizens of both sexes between the ages of 16 and 40 who by May 31, 1931, are not in possession of a certificate of literacy from a national school cannot exercise the right of citizenship. Schools, both day and night, for adults were opened throughout the country and 500,000 men and women were certified from the first year and for the second winter 615,000 adults were registered. It is asserted that illiteracy has fallen from 85% to 42%. The schools for children have also been improved. The budget for the Ministry of Education for 1930-31 is £T8,199,709.

   The new Turkish names for its chief cities are given at the head of this article with the old names that had been generally used in foreign countries in parentheses.

   The National Assembly on March 30, 1930 passed a law giving women the right to vote in municipal elections, and to hold municipal offices. Two women were appointed April 29, 1930 associated judges in the equity courts in Ankara and Istanbul.

   A reform, following the census experience in October, 1927, is being worked out to compel Turks to adopt surnames.

   A mutual guarantee and neutrality peace treaty for three years was signed by Turkey and Russia on December 17, 1925. This was


renewed and amplified Dec. 17, 1929 and commercial treaties signed with the United States, Oct. 1, 1929, and with Great Britain March 1, 1930. A treaty with Greece settling all outstanding questions was signed June 10, 1930.

   The National Assembly in 1929 consolidated the public works pro-gram for the next 12 years by appropriating $120,000,000 to be used exclusively for the construction of a network of railways, ports and breakwaters, and in irrigation and reclamation projects. Supervision of the work was given to Swedish engineers. Highway reconstruction is being studied.

   A new liberal party was formed in 1930, Mustapha Kemal approv-ing and Premier Ismet Pasha acquiescing, under the leadership of Fethi Bey, formerly Ambassador to France. The National Assembly had been a one-party body, but he had 12 votes in opposition to 249 when statements of policy were made on Oct. 2, previous to dissolu-tion, and the Premier Ismet Pasha called for a vote of confidence. As it failed to work according to plan Fethi Bey dissolved the party.

   The Assembly on March 26, 1931, voted to adopt the metric system to take effect Jan. 1, 1933.




   Agriculture is the chief industry of the Turks, products being tobacco, which goes to almost all world marts; cereals, cotton, figs, nuts, fruits of almost all varieties, opium and gums. About 17 million acres are in forests. Tobacco production in 1929 was 90,389,000 pounds (94,762,000 pounds in 1928); cotton in 1929, 30,000 metric tons (18,360 tons in 1928); raw silk, 1929, 145 metric tons (125 tons in 1928); figs, 32,000 tons.

   In 1929 there were 12,124,031 sheep, 11,683,091 goats, 4,718,803 cattle, 849,485 asses, 496,954 horses, 496,060 buffaloes, 74,803 camels, and 36,522 mules.

   Turkey has large mineral resources, not yet developed, chrome ore, zinc, manganese, antimony, copper, borax, emery, asphalt, meerschaum, some coal and lignite, salt, some gold and silver, and petroleum on lands bordering the Marmara Sea.

   Turkish fisheries are regarded as important, but manufactures are small and methods crude.

   Turkey suffered severely during the twelve long years of war. The destruction of Smyrna, devastation of cultivated areas, lack of transportation and the deportation of the skilled Christian workers kept the output of the country in 1923 far below pre-war average. The Government has made efforts to assist the peasant and is undertaking the building of railroads, but in its efforts to build up a purely Turkish Moslem state many prohibitive and restrictive laws and regulations have been put into force. In the compulsive exchange of population 1,000,000 Greeks and Armenians left the country, and by May, 1924, 300,000 Moslem refugees had been brought in.

   Railway mileage of standard gauge in use De. 31, 1930, was 6,085 kilometers (3,803 miles) with 1,286 kilometers (799 miles) under construction. On Aug. 31, 1931, the railroad 250 miles long connecting Ankara with Sivas was opened.

   In 1929, 5,312 steamers of 8,601,451 tonnage and 3,084 sailing ships (all Turkish), of 177,552 tonnage, entered the port of Istanbul; and 2,155 vessels of of 7,7,296,479 tonnage passed through Dardanelles, in transit. At Izmir (Smyrna), in 1929, 13,351 vessels of 4,508,185 tonnage entered.

   The Turkish merchant marine July 1, 1931, was composed of 187 steamships of 178,256 gross tons and 3 motor ships of 1,031 gross tons.

   The unit of currency is the piaster (par of exchange = 4.4 cents), of which 100 = 1 pound Turkish. Average exchange rates for the Turkish pound were:  1923, $0.6067; 1924, $0.529; 1925, $0.5449; 1926, $0.5321; 1927, $0.515; 1928, $0.5058; 1929, $0.4853; on May 31, 1930, $0.47; and on Oct 15, 1931, $0.473.





Foreign Countries -- Turkey.                                                          717        


   According to the Lausanne Treaty, the pre-war Ottoman debt, amounting to £129,000,000, will be distributed between Turkey and the territories detached after the Balkan War and the World War. Turkey's share is 62.25%. Agreement was reached in 1928 whereby Turkey's annual payments were fixed at from 1928 to 1935, £T1,980,000 gold; to 1941, £T3,180,000; then till paid £T3,400,000. This agreement was ratified by the National Assembly May 15, 1929, and on June 1. The first payment was made. In 1930, however, owing to the fall of the Turkish pound but one-third of the installment due was met. 

   The treasury bonds are to be consolidated in one loan paying 5% and redeemable in 20 years, and partial cancellation of interest on the long-term debt and "unified loans" were arranged.

   The National Assembly in 1930 voted to set up a State Bank -- the Central Republican Bank -- with a capital of £T25,000,000 (about $12,500,000) with exclusive privilege to issue banknotes. A $10,000,000 6½% loan from the Swedish Match Co. was obtained in 1930 in exchange for a match monopoly for 25 years, during which time the loan will be amortized.

   Recent budgets in Turkish pounds were:


(Ending May 31.)              Revenues.                  Expenditures.

1924-25...................      £T129,214,610          £T140,433,370

1925-26...................          153,000,000               167,000,000

1926-27...................          190,158,864               190,105,544

1927-28...................          194,580,544               194,454,619

1928-29...................          207,173,199               207,169,388

1929-30...................          220,546,000               222,646,523

1931-32...................          222,732,000               222,646,523

1932-33...................          186,705,580               186,582,045


   Foreign trade figures are:

                                            Imports.                      Exports.

1925..............................£T242,314,118           £T193,119,456

                                       ($132,000,000)           ($167,000,000)

1926..............................£T234,591,722           £T187,742,801

                                       ($120,814,737)             ($96,887,542)

1927..............................£T211,398,184           £T158,420,998

                                       ($108,490,000)             ($81,300,000)

1928..............................£T223,531,775           £T173,537,489

                                       ($114,000,000)             ($88,504,000)

1929..............................£T255,988,665           £T155,375,981

                                       ($120,314,573)             ($73,026,700)

1930..............................£T147,534,361           £T151,480,382

                                         ($69,783,753)             ($71,650,220)


   Trade with the United States was:

Cal. Year.                                 Imports.                    Exports.

1925......................................$3,379,038               $14,648,177

1926......................................$2,927,980               $16,834,463

1927......................................$4,027,174               $20,069,551

1928......................................$4,241,708               $18,387,774

1929......................................$5,810,221               $12,165,644

1930......................................$4,384,568               $11,637,620















Notable Locations






     Described as "made-to-order" and cheerless, the capital city is still a huge grid of paved streets without enough buildings. Grand tree-lined boulevards, immense government buildings, and towering monuments are separated by hundreds of yards of empty blocks. It's a very modern city -- double-decker autobuses, underground utilities, vast gardens and parks, a well-equipped sports stadium, museums of art and history, a hydro-electric dam 8 miles from the city, a massive new rail station, direct-dial (automatic exchange) telephones, gleaming apartment complexes, a university under construction -- but still underpopulated (74,789 inhabitants in 1929). Many of the residents are civil servants.

     There are no live theaters, nor an opera, but there are several movie theaters (showing films made in Europe and America a year or so ago) and a music conservatory. The only "antique" section is on and around the Citadel, on a large earthen mound.

     One hotel name is known:  the Ankara Palace Hotel, the most fashionable.

     Besides the Turkish government, all of the foreign embassies are located here, somewhat to their dismay. Any trees within miles were planted since the late 1920s -- almost all acacias.

     At the airport, there is also a glider training school, open to girls and boys. Instruction includes parachute jumping; graduates become reserve officers in the military. The most capable are sent on to the military aviation school.


apparently the Soviet US-3 training glider, the first mass-produced Soviet glider




The Economy and the Great Depression


     In 1933 Turkey received an interest-free loan, with a 20 year term, worth 8 million lire from the Soviet Union. No other Turkish government borrowing took place until the late 1950s.

     By the end of the 1920s, agriculture accounts for half of the GDP and about 80% of employment. The heavy decline in exports of agricultural goods to America is partly due to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, which charges "fixed dollar amounts per unit" duties, not percentages. As deflation lowered the price being paid for (as an example) figs, the import duties at the American border remained the same.




     The Turkish lira (plural lire) is divided into 100 kuruş. The lira is sometimes called a "pound" by English speakers, and the kuruş is often called a piastre (or piaster) by foreigners. These coins were gold (for the lira) and silver (for the kuruş) up until the start of the Great War.

      Gold lira coins after 1844 were 111 grains of 22 carat gold (thus 102 grains of gold, or 0.21 troy ounces, worth about $4.38 until 1934, or about £1); these are sometimes still found. Old silver Ottoman coins are very debased, and not of much value.

      Paper notes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 lire, and are printed in both Turkish and French.


currency exchange for £1 UK






6.9 to 7.3




6.2 to 11.7




      From 1930 to 1936, the Turkish lira is pegged at 12.06 French francs; in 1936, the lira is pegged to pounds sterling, at £1 = 6.25 lire.

     Bank notes issued by the Ottoman Bank are still valid, and can still be redeemed for gold (until 1948!). They represent about 2% of the paper currency by face value. I suspect they are not often used as regular currency by the mid-Thirties, and by the late Thirties bring a substantial bonus over their face value. "Republic of Turkey" notes entirely lose their convertibility to gold or silver in 1933.




     Note that between 1932 and 1934, the form of many persons names change, due to laws about families and use of the Turkish language, abolition of titles, etc.




     Large consulates are present in Istanbul -- most of these are located in the former embassies.

     The following diplomatic missions are present in Ankhara (list is very incomplete):


  • Brazil (embassy)

  • Chile (embassy)

  • China (legation)

    • Minister. He Yaozu (1935-1937)

  • Egypt (legation)

  • Ethiopia (embassy)

  • France (embassy)

    • Ambassador. 1928-1933:  Charles Pineton de Chambrun; 1933-1936:  Albert Kammerer.

  • Germany (embassy)

  • Holland (legation)

    • Minister. 1931-1933:  Jan Dirk van Ketwich Verschuur; 1933-1937:  Binnert Philip van Harinxma thoe Slooten (as chargé d'affaires)

  • Italy (embassy)

  • Mexico (legation)

  • Persia (embassy)

  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (legation)

    • Diplomatic Representative. 1923-1934:  Yakov Surits. 1934-1937:  Lev Karakhan.

  • United Kingdom (embassy)

    • Ambassador.  1926–1933: Rt. Hon. Sir George Clerk, G.C.M.G., C.V.O.; 1933–1939: Rt. Hon. Sir Percy L. Loraine, Bt., G.C.M.G.

    • Counsellor. 1930-1940:  James Morgan, C.M.G.

  • United States (embassy)

    • Ambassador. 1932-1933:  Charles Hitchcock Sherrill; 1933-1936:  Robert Peet Skinner; 1936-1941:   John Van Antwerp MacMurray 

  • Switzerland (legation) 


Identity Cards


     The "papers" issued to all Turkish subjects.




     Visitors can import up to 500 rounds of ammunition for any rifle or shotgun they also possess (except 7.92mm Mauser); hunting licenses are cheap (10 shillings), easy to get, and allow the importation of appropriate weapons. Boar season extends all year round (they're considered pests, and most inhabitants don't eat pork), and is probably a good excuse for any kind of rifle or shotgun.

     Possession of firearms and ammunition (for Turks) has been restricted in Turkey since 1911, but the law is widely ignored. "Military weapons" are forbidden for civilian ownership; this includes any firearms in 7.92mm Mauser caliber.

     Within two weeks of arrival at Istanbul, a foreigner must obtain a residency permit from a police station. If traveling to "the interior", a visitor only has 48 hours to make this arrangement.

     Persons are not allowed to appear in public in clerical or monastic garb (of any religion); the wearing of veils, fezzes and turbans is also outlawed.

     In 1934 the government outlawed all aristocratic and honorary titles (e.g., bey, pasha, prince, etc.) and required all Turkish citizens to have a Turkish-language last name (much to the annoyance of the Armenian, Greek, Russian, Kurdish, etc. citizens).  This also meant that much of the population got new identity cards (Nüfus Hüviyet Cüzdanı) that year.


Here's the inside cover and first page of Ataturk's identity card; the crescent, star and some text is in red.


Customs and Tariffs


     The average tariff on imported goods is 46%; foreign exchange is also heavily regulated, and price controls are in effect.

     The Law on the Protection of the Value of the Turkish Currency, passed in 1930, restricts imports of foreign currency and exports of lire. Foreigners and Turkish citizens may not hold sums of foreign currency for more than 150 days, for example; it's very difficult to obtain foreign currency within Turkey.

     Exchanging currency attracts a tax of 4%.


Law Enforcement and Internal Security


     In general:  polis.

     The National Police are responsible for law enforcement down to the lowest levels, and border control.

     The Gendarmerie (Turkish:  Jandarma) are a branch of the military. They operate outside of cities.

     Specialized armed enforcement agencies exist, for purposes such as forestry, finance, the postal system, border patrols, etc..


Intelligence Services


     The National Security Service (Turkish: Milli Emniyet Hizmeti) is the main intelligence organization since 1926. The first director of the MAH was Şükrü Âli Ögel (1886–1973).




     The army uses versions of German small arms typical of the Great War, but reserve units, forestry units, postmen, etc. might be armed with British, French or old Ottoman weapons.


Military Aviation


     Pilots and some technical staff are sent to the U.S., the United Kingdom, France and Italy for training -- and to the Soviet Union.

     Aviators wear blue uniforms.

     Aircraft in service include the Polikarpov Po-2 biplane, the Martin B-10 bomber, the Supermarine Walrus seaplane, the Gotha Go.145 trainer, and two dozen Heinkel He-111 F bombers (in 1937).

     In early May of 1935 the opening of the military flight school attracted many foreign aviators, with quite an amazing airshow.


The Navy








     The Ministry of Public Works oversees only 8,000 miles of macadam roads.

     There was a Ford factory in Istanbul from 1929 until about 1932 -- it was closed with the coming of the Great Depression. Most of the automobiles owned by the public are built by Ford (such as the Y-Type) or Renault (see the Monaquatre or Celtaquatre); rich people tend to prefer Mercedes or BMW products.








Turkish railway system, 1937


     Except for the Orient Express and Taurus Express, there are no sleeping car services in Turkey. A few long-distance passenger trains will have a sort of buffet car.

     A sixty-day rail pass good for any Turkish railway costs 80 lire (or £12 15s; this is for "coach seats" however, so the Orient Express or Taurus Express will require further payment).

     At most stations in the interior, vendors on the station platform will sell bottled water, hard-boiled eggs, milk, peanuts, figs, raki, cheese, bread, and platters with crisply-baked lambs' heads!


Classes of Trains in Turkey


  • Trains de luxe:  the Orient Express, first- and second-class, with sleeping cars and restaurants.

  • Third Class:  no seats, no water, no toilets.


Air Transport


     As of November 1934, two scheduled international air routes connect to Istanbul (see below).

     There is a daily passenger and mail flight between Istanbul and Ankara (with a stop at Eskişehir), operated since about 1932 or 1933 by Turkish State Airlines. Allow about 2 hours for the flight, aboard a Tupolev ANT-9 trimotor (replaced from 1935 by the Junkers Ju-52).

     Domestic flights are operated by Turkish State Airlines (ancestor of Turkish Airlines), and use a twin-engine 5-passenger Curtiss Kingbird, two all-metal Junkers F.13s (capacity 4 passengers each), and (from 1933 to 1936) one all-metal Tupolev ANT-9 trimotor. In 1935 more capable modern aircraft began to appear -- the Junkers Ju-52 served with the state airline in the 1930s, probably from 1935 onwards.  

     We're pretty sure there were other domestic flights within Turkey after 1934, but we haven't found good sources on their operations yet.


Brindisi - Athens - Istanbul


     This seaplane route is operated by Aero Espresso Italiana, the first airline of the Kingdom of Italy, until about December of 1934 when it was absorbed into Ala Littoria. The aircraft would be either twin-hull Savoia S.55 flying boats or biplane Macchi M.24bis flying boats.

     Fares are 500 Italian lire (about 5 Turkish lire, or 16 shillings) from Brindisi or Istanbul to Athens, 1000 Italian lire (about 10 Turkish lire, or £1 12s) between Brindisi and Istanbul. Luggage costs 5 or 10 Italian lire per kilogram over 15 kilograms.


inbound, Monday & Friday

airport of   

outbound, Tuesday & Saturday












Athens (Faliro)





Istanbul (Buyukdere)



p.m. times in italics


Bucharest - Istanbul


     This is the last leg of the Flèche d'Orient, flying overnight from Paris. There was also a connection from Sofia to Istanbul, as part of the same service. These flights land and take off at Yeşilköy Airport.




     The General Directorate of Posts, Telegraph and Telephone is the national bureau for all those systems; thus a "post office" is also the telegraph and telephone office. Look for a sign reading Posta ve Telgraf Ofisi, perhaps with the word 'Telefon' added.


Postal Services






     There have been telephones in Istanbul since 1909 (the Ottoman government had banned telephones from 1888 to 1908), with the first central exchange opened in 1913. The first long-distance line was established between Ankara and Istanbul in 1929. The first  "automatic dial telephones" were in Ankara, which also has the most telephones per capita. By the mid-Thirties the national telephone system probably extends to all cities with a population of 40,000 or more, and Istanbul also has an automatic telephone exchange. Local telephone numbers are usually six digits in the cities; "area codes" are 1 to 3 digits.

     Telephone operators are mostly Greek, Armenian or Jewish women -- although they attend a special school to lose their "non-Istanbul" accents.

     Home telephones remain rare into the 1960s. One home or business in a neighborhood might have a telephone (if one, it's probably a shop or business); plus, post offices, police stations, and government offices.




     Besides the regular telegraph system, messages may be sent at the yilderim ("lightning") rate -- five times normal cost, but usually delivered within about 10 minutes of being sent.




Languages and Education


     The foreign language best understood and most used is French, followed by German and English. Of course, the minority residents (see below) will also know their own languages. 

     Over the whole nation, literacy is about 15% (for women it's less than 10%). Istanbul's population is under 50% literate in Turkish.

     In 1935, 711 men and 167 women received college degrees from Turkish institutions.


Food and Beverages


     Ayran (also spelled airan) is a popular drink of water and yoghurt not unlike the Finnish/Russian "buttermilk" or Indian lassi, but always served without sugar (and, in fact, typically with a little salt added). Turkish coffee (kahve), served in tiny cups, is strong and tasty, just be careful not to drink the sludgy grounds at the bottom of the cup. It is much different than the so-called Turkish coffees sold abroad. Sade kahve is served black, while as sekerli, orta sekerli and cok sekerli will get you a little, some or a lot of sugar in your cup. Tea (cay) is also very popular in the country. Be careful, if your tea is prepared by locals, it can be much stronger than you're used to. Boza is a traditional cold, thick drink that originates from Central Asia; it is fermented bulgur with sugar and water additions.

     The local firewater of choice is raki, an anise-flavoured liquor double-distilled from fermented grape skin. It is usually mixed with water and drunk with another glass of iced water to accompany as a duble. Raki is a national drink which Turks like to make foreigners taste. Make sure to try it but don't overindulge as it is very potent! Remember not to mix it with anything else. In addition liquory fruit wines of Sirince in Izmir are well worth tasting.




     Most Turks are Sunni Moslems.

     Since the mid-1920s Turkey has become an aggressively secular nation -- Christian monasteries were broken up, all forms of religious law have been suppressed, and (in theory) all religions are treated equally.




     The usual slang term for foreigners in general is "frank"; "giaour" means "infidel", though it's mostly applied to Christians in Turkey and the Balkans.

     Non-Muslims are only about 2.5% of the Turkish population, significantly reduced since 1918 due to the expulsions of Armenians and Greeks in the 1920s.


The Press


    There are no English-language newspapers printed in Turkey; those which arrive by train are several days "out of date". There are a few French-language newspapers, in Istanbul and Ankara.


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