Istanbul During the Balkan Wars (1912–1913)

Cholera, Medicine and the Press

in Turkish Historical Review
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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.

Istanbul During the Balkan Wars (1912–1913)

Cholera, Medicine and the Press

in Turkish Historical Review

Sections

References

2

Unknown“Cholera”Public Health Reports (18961970) Vol. 27 (1912) 1514–5.

6

Dwight H.G.Constantinople Old and New (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons1915) pp. 459–63.

7

Topuzlu C.İstibdad - Meşrutiyet - Cumhuriyet Devirlerinde 80 Yıllık Hatıralarım (İstanbul: İstanbul Üniversitesi Cerrahpaşa Tıp Fakültesi Yayınları1982) pp. 124–8.

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Duncan-Johnstone A.With the British Red Cross in Turkey: the Experiences of Two Volunteers 1912–13 (London: Nisbet1913) p. 138.

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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.

12

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.

15

Rosenberg C.E.“Cholera in nineteenth-century Europe: a tool for social and economic analysis”Comparative Studies in Society and History8 (1966) pp. 125–6; Evans “Epidemics and revolutions” pp. 125–6.

16

Şehsuvaroğlu B.“Kolera ile Mücadelede Türklerin Rolü”Belgelerle Türk Tarihi Dergisi3 (1967) pp. 55–6.

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MüdüriyetiDersaadet’in 1329 senesine mahsus sıhhi istatiğidir pp. 28–33.

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Brummett P. “Dogs women cholera and other menaces in the streets: cartoon satire in the Ottoman revolutionary press 1908–11” International Journal of Middle East Studies 27 (1995) pp. 448 54.

27

Snowden“Cholera in Barletta 1910” p. 76.

28

White S.“Rethinking disease in Ottoman history”International Journal of Middle East Studies42 (2010) pp. 551 3–4.

38

Nail Halid (ed.)Musavver Eczacı Nevsalı (Dersaadet: Kader Matbaası1328).

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Tekiner H.“I wish I had an aspirin! Reflections on aspirin in Turkish literature”Osmanlı Bilimi Araştırmaları12 (2011) p. 129.

49

Dinç and Sarı“Advertisement” p. 25.

66

 See for example Briggs“Cholera and society” p. 88; Snowden “Cholera in Barletta” p. 81.

67

Evans R.J.“Epidemics and revolutions” p. 131–2.

68

Burrell R.M.“The 1904 epidemic of cholera in Persia: some aspects of Qājār society”Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London51 (1988) p. 260.

69

Briggs“Cholera and society” pp. 78 80 91.

70

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.

71

Evans“Epidemics and revolutions” pp. 136 145.

73

Snowden“Cholera in Barletta” pp. 95–100.

85

Baykal“Life in Istanbul” pp. 37–8.

88

Dağlar“War epidemics and medicine” pp. 95–6.

89

Dağlar“War Epidemics and Medicine” pp. 95–6.

91

Baldwin H.F.A War Photographer in Thrace (London: T. Fisher Unwin1913) pp. 219.

94

Baykal‘The Ottoman Press’ pp. 120–5.

96

Ashmead-BartlettWith The Turks in Thrace pp. 260–1.

98

Topuzlu80 Yıllık Hatıralarım pp. 125–9.

Figures

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    (left) Geographic distribution and intensity of the 1912 cholera outbreak in Istanbul and (right) Location of major refugee shelters in Istanbul.

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    Officials in uniforms are ready to quarantine the house of a man whom they suspect to have cholera because he is vomiting. However, he points out the bottle of wine in his hand and calms them down as he had simply just had too much to drink.

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    (Left) Cholera, accompanied by death is being chased away by cleanliness (nezafet) and (Right) Cholera is attacking Istanbul and the Bosporus strait during the 1911 epidemic.

  • View in gallery

    Panic in the Grand Bazaar, caused by the flu.

  • View in gallery

    The old witch, the mascot of Cadaloz, shakes an angry fist at the Nektar company who are having some trouble at their factory. “Nektar was saying that beer is a protection against cholera, but do you see now what happened to them?”

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