Staff Major Mustafa Kemal in the days of the Balkan War. (1912)

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There is an interesting story about the fact that Mustafa Kemal's picture, which was first published in the Istanbul Press, was able to be published in the newspaper despite Enver Pasha's strict prohibition.


There is an interesting story that the picture of Mustafa Kemal, which was first published in the Istanbul press, was able to be published in the newspaper despite Enver Pasha's strict prohibition;

From the Çanakkale front, the good news of victory comes one after the other. Who is this hero who stopped the Allied corps with his insufficient forces, drove them to the sea and saved Istanbul twice, and at the same time prevented the Turkish and German troops from falling into the hands of the Allies? Of course, there is a commander at the head of these forces; Newspapers never mention the name of this war master, who plans both attack and defense, and does whatever tactics and strategy are necessary.

All newspaper owners in Istanbul know that this unknown hero is Colonel Mustafa Kemal Bey. However, whenever the name of Mustafa Kemal is mentioned in the news of the war about Çanakkale, it is deleted by the censor and this name is prevented from being published in the newspapers. The editor-in-chief of Tasvir-i efkar 1 newspaper , which was being published in Istanbul at that time,  was Yunus Nadi (Abalıoğlu) Bey, and the editor-in-chief was Abidin Daver (Dav'er) Bey. Against this injustice, the newspaper decides to publish Mustafa Kemal's picture at any cost.

The front page of Tesvir-i Efkar Newspaper, where the first picture of Mustafa Kemal appeared in the press.

The front page of the Tasvir-i Efkar Newspaper, where the first picture of Mustafa Kemal appeared in the press.

Now, let's listen to Abidin Daver (Dav'er), the editor-in-chief of the newspaper:

“At the beginning of the 1914 World War, the lead author of Tasvir-i Efkar was Yunus Nadi Bey. The Battle of Çanakkale had just begun. Cevat (Shepherd) Pasha was the Commander of the Fortified Bosphorus. Mustafa Kemal Bey, Commander of the 19th Division, who is on guard. He was the first to liberate Istanbul.”

“Mustafa Kemal Bey was meeting with Yunus Nadi (Abalıoğlu) Bey and they were exchanging letters. We have prepared a large illustrated and mapped article in the newspaper to enliven this heroic defense. We put the picture of Cevat (Çobanlı) Pasha, the heroic defender of the sea front of the Bosphorus, in the circle on one side of the map, and the picture of Mustafa Kemal Bey, the brave (Sanli) defender of the land front, in the second circle. Military censorship officer took out a picture of Mustafa Kemal Bey. It turns out that the famous Enver Pasha, the Minister of War and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the time, did not like Mustafa Kemal Bey and was jealous of him. We don't know about them. We are very saddened by the removal of this picture. First of all, we obtained that picture with a thousand and one difficulties and prepared a beautiful page, then one of the circles on both sides of the Çanakkale map remains blank, the newspaper's symmetry is broken,

Mustafa Kemal Bey's picture published for the first time in the newspaper 

Mustafa Kemal Bey's picture published for the first time in the newspaper 

“We phoned the chief of the censorship officers.”

"I can't allow it. Please apply to the Director of the General Headquarters Second Intelligence Branch, Mr. , we got the answer.

The Director of the Intelligence Branch at that time, District Governor (lieutenant colonel) Seyfi Bey, was a proud, harsh person who regarded journalists as his own servicemen. He didn't even want to talk to us, and he strictly obeyed the order of rank. For each of our applications:

-“Apply to the censorship”, he would reply.

Indeed, on the phone:

"We have a request, sir", as he began.

He said , "I can't talk to you, apply to the censorship officer and let him tell me . "

We told the censorship officer that this is what the principal said;

"Oh," he said; "Excuse me." I can't tell him anything, I'm afraid," he said and threw it away.

In the face of this situation, we realized that it was necessary to take the offensive. We also made the decision.

“After a while, we applied to the censorship officer again and said that the gentleman of the Headquarters General Intelligence Branch gave permission to publish the picture by phone. The poor man also believed, hesitating to ask his superior anything again, he signed his signature on the edge of the rehearsal. The next day, the first picture of Mustafa Kemal, the Hero of Arıburnu, was published in the newspaper. We survived the censorship, and other newspapers... You had no share in our joy”.

“I told you that Enver Pasha was very jealous of Mustafa Kemal and the deceased Pasha was furious when he saw this picture. Seyfi Bey, the Director of the Intelligence Branch, was also in a rage. First, they imprisoned the Censor officer for three days, and scalded him terribly, threatening to send us to the front. Fortunately, Yunus Nadi Bey was a deputy. That's why they hesitated to close the newspaper. But then they invented an excuse, they closed Tasvir-i efkar for ten days. The excuse they found was as follows: Savni Bey, the brother of Şehremini İsmer Bey, was appointed as the mayor of the Yeniköy Department."

They said , "Wow, you wrote this news by adding the word brother, there is bad intention in this " .

We went through a very exciting search to find this newspaper that Abidin Daver mentioned and this painting in the collection. We were as happy as Archimedes when we found the newspaper, which included the first picture of Atatürk in the Istanbul press, in the collection. Unfortunately, the photocopy turned out to be blurry because the facilities were not as convenient as necessary. (A clear photocopy was taken later). 3

1 The original name of the newspaper is Tasvir-i Efkar. When the newspaper is closed for any reason at that time, the owner of the newspaper continues its publication under another name close to the name of that newspaper, taking advantage of the gap in the law.

2 Twentieth Century magazine, January 28, 1956, Cemalettin Saraçoğlu.

3 Tasvir-i Efkar Newspaper, Municipality Library, 29 October 1915 (16 Teşrinievvel 1331-20 Zilhijce 1333), page:1

Source: Atatürk’ün İstanbul’daki Çalışmaları (1899-16 Mayıs 1919), Derleyen: Sadi Borak, 2. Basım 1998, Kaynak Yayınları, Sayfa: 75-80

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Staff Major Mustafa Kemal in the days of the Balkan War. (1912)