National Geographic : 1951 Aug
146 Turkish Information Office Turkey Goes Democratic: Women Vote as Men's Equals General elections on May 14, 1950, marked the end of one-party government. Celal Bayar, Democratic Party leader and former Premier, was chosen President. Kerchiefed grandmother and stylish matron here drop sealed ballots into a padlocked box (pages 142-3). pital where Florence Nightingale won fame. I had known Atatiirk's Turkey, spurred to activity by the dynamic personality of a vir tual dictator. I had helped celebrate its 21st birthday. Now I had come to Turkey to see farmers using tractors and combines, to see the training of airplane mechanics, to see new roads where dynamite, bulldozers, and scrapers are paving the path of progress. While plans for my 2,000 miles of auto mobile travel in remote areas were being ar ranged, we took a steamer trip on the Black Sea. For thousands of years ships plying the Bosporus and the Dardanelles have con nected the rainy, mountain-backed Black Sea coast of Asia Minor with the Mediterranean world (map, pages 144-5).* Voyaging east toward the Russian frontier, we carried Marshall Plan machinery and manufactured goods from America, and deck passengers, homeward bound. Returning to Istanbul, 11 days later, we brought tobacco, hazelnuts, eggs, and city-bound farmers. Compared with the Europeanized com muters on Galata Bridge (pages 152, 153), our deck passengers seemed exotic. Actually they were the true Turks. In the days of the Ottoman Empire the Turks disliked the name "Turk," because it signified "rustics." Instead, they called them selves Osmanlis. But Atatiirk made "Turk" an honored name. In old days, I asked my models whether they were Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, Turkmen, or Yuruks. Today all are Turks, and proud of it. Back of modern progress, growing literacy, mechanization, better roads, airfields, radios, and universities, the farmer is Turkey's strength and Turkey's problem. Illiteracy is still common. Although schools are free and coeducational, there are still only 16,000 schools in the 40,000 towns and villages. We went as far as Hopa, 10 miles from Red Russia, to see rural Turkey and to follow the green, rainy shore of the Black Sea. As we began to buck the Bosporus current, a mile from the Galata Bridge, we passed the Dolma Bahce Palace, which took its name from a filled-in valley. Here Turkish farmers, caught between steep hill and broad stream, once grew food for the city. * See "Gates to the Black Sea: The Dardanelles, the Bosphorus, and the Sea of Marmora," by Harry Gris wold Dwight, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, May, 1915.