President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk conducts inspections after the Ankara Tahtakale fire. (18-19.07.1929)

Photo source: Atatürk Gazi Mustafa Kemal, Photo by Cemal Işıksel, Turkish Historical Society Press, Ankara, 1969. Page:49
Photographer: Cemal Işıksel
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President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk conducts inspections after the Ankara Tahtakale fire. (July 18-19, 1929)



Cemal Işıksel explains:

The Tahtakale fire started in 1929. At that time, I was doing my military service in the guard battalion. When I saw that there was a fire, I immediately took my machine, I ran to the fire place. I was trying to get pictures of the fire. At that time, they said that Gazi is coming. I got my position right away. He came, I was trying to identify Atatürk by taking advantage of the light of the fire. He told me at the time: "Irregularity is running out of your pants." It was 3 o'clock at night when he told me this. I immediately took a main task. I took a look at it, and it turns out that my leggings were loosened and sagging. I just disappeared from there, tied the tie, came back again, he started laughing. In such a turmoil, at such a moment, he sees that the tie of a journalist's leggings with a soldier's uniform is untied. I have not seen this attention in anyone.

Source: Abdi İpekçi, Interview with Cemal Işıksel, 6 November 1972, Milliyet Newspaper

Evening Newspaper of 22 July 1929


From Mustafa, son of Private Hamza, from Guards Regiment Second Battalion, Third Division,

I am Mustafa, son of Hamza, I was doing my military service in 1929 in the second battalion of the guards regiment, in the third company. That year, there was a huge fire in Ankara. Tahtakale fire. With this fire, a large part of Ankara at that time was burned and hundreds of people were left homeless.

This fire was partially extinguished, and while it was still going on, the military units had secured the place of the fire with 8-10 meters apart, both for safety and so that there would be no looting. Strict orders were given not to let anyone in.

On the night of the same day, someone came with a few horsemen behind him from the direction of the present Numune Hospital towards morning. I noticed them from afar.

Towards them, “It is forbidden to approach the fire place, do not approach!” I shouted. When they moved towards us without heeding it, I took out my sniper rifle and shouted again. "Do not approach, forbidden!" Then the horseman in front said, “Okay, well, my boy.” They said and turned their horse towards Abidin Pasha and left.

At that time, the private next to me shouted at me, “What did you do, fellow countryman? It was Gazi Pasha, look." Said. When I looked from the side, I recognized Ata in the dark. But it had happened. Then there were few newspapers, no television anyway. We also hear about Gazi Pasha, but how can we get to know him? We couldn't even recognize it in the dark.

A fear took me. I said to myself, "They're going to shoot us tomorrow." My hands were shaking as I thought. After my shift was over, I went to the ward and went to bed. But I couldn't sleep until morning. The friends next to me were also telling the story to the people who came in front of them. There was no way I could deny it.

Toward noon they said, "The lieutenant is calling for you." I went to the lieutenant. I'm gone but not me, death is gone.

When you go to the commander, the commander

- “Were you the two or four guards in front of the bathhouse?” asked.

- “Yes, it was me, sir.” I said.

"The major is calling you, wait, we'll go," he said. I waited. We went to the major together. But my color was gone, my hands and feet were shaking. I would fall and faint.

We went before the Major. The Major asked the same thing.

- “Were you the two or four guards next to the bathhouse?” said.

- “Yes, it was me, commander.” I said. But I saw that the major was not so angry, smug, but even smiling.

- “Look,” he said, “In the evening, Gazi Pasha came to visit the fire place on horseback, you didn't put a bayonet and put Pasha in the fire place, is it true?”

- "I swear I didn't know, commander. I couldn't even see your face in the dark at night. Wouldn't I quit if I knew?" I said.

- "Well done. Gazi Pasha liked this behavior very much, he rewards you, we will give you ten days off, go visit your village.” Said.

I went and took 5 TL from the cashier and went to my village with ten days off and had a good rest.

Source: Atatürk’ten Hiç Yayınlanmamış Anılar, Prof. Dr. Yurdakul Yurdakul, Truva Yayınları, 4. Baskı, Mart 2006, ISBN: 975-6237-37-6. Sayfa:144-145

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President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk conducts inspections after the Ankara Tahtakale fire. (18-19.07.1929)