During the Balkan Wars (1912–1913) Istanbul suddenly found itself at the frontline of an unexpectedly disastrous conflict with its Balkan neighbours. One direct consequence of these wars, through troop mobilisation and refugee movement, was a major outbreak of cholera in the Ottoman capital. While entrepreneurs tried to turn this calamity into profit, by selling (useless) medication, the government tried to control the flow of information regarding the disease in order to better combat the epidemic and both parties used the press to achieve their goals. Despite the chaos of the war and the size of the outbreak, the acted efficiently and successfully prevented a potential disaster.
Huber V.“The Unification of the Globe by Disease? The International Sanitary Conferences on Cholera, 1851–1894”The Historical Journal49 (2006) p. 459. Of the ten International Sanitary Conferences to which the Ottoman empire also sent its delegates eight dealt exclusively with cholera.
Snowden F.M.“Cholera in Barletta 1910”Past & Present(1991) pp. 88–9. Snowden’s description of cholera victims is very detailed and very successful in describing the impression that it must have left on witnesses.
van Zyl K.“Lies, damned lies, and statistics: a comparison of the construction of authority and responsibility in two South African cholera epidemics”South African Historical Journal64 (2012) pp. 235. Both nineteenth and twenty first century reporting of cholera epidemics in the media reveal the political value of an outbreak.