Art

Ottoman Humour In Kosovo

THE OTTOMAN HUMOUR NEWSPAPERS EXHIBITION HELD AT THE PRISHTINE YUNUS EMRE INSTITUTE HAS BEEN DRAWING INTENSE ATTENTION. THE EXHIBITION, WHICH HAS BEEN DEPICTING THE SENSE OF HUMOUR BETWEEN THE YEARS OF 1870 AND 1922, WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MAY 31, 2015.

There are 67 displays illustrating the sense of humour within the Ottoman publishing world at the exhibition held at the Yunus Emre Institute of Kosovo´s culture city Prishtine. Agim Krasniqi, the President of the Association of Kosovo Cartoonists, is amongst the visitors of the organisation which has brought many Balkan journalists, authors and masters of humour together. Alperen Köseoğlu, a prominent name of Turkish caricatures, who was at the event with his own archives and works, delivered a conference on “The Ottoman Humour Newspapers”. We would like to share a part of Köseoğlu´s speech with you:

“Turkey has a history of humour that surpasses the years of its Republican era. There currently are more than 850 publications since the 1870s. Humour was something which had always existed within the Ottoman tradition as well as before it. For instance, Keloğlan, Nasraddin Hodja, Karagöz and Hacivat and even Dertli and Garip from way before those times… During the 1830s, Şinasi had published some newspapers. In 1850, the newspapers Meruh and Boşboğaz were published. These were the first attempts and in fact, were not in the Ottoman language but in Armenian. At the same time, cartoons entered the Ottoman press during the 1860s and were published in the daily newspapers of Istanbul and Terakki. The publishing of the first humour newspaper took place in 1970. The individual, who had published it, was a Greek from Kayseri by the name of Teodor Kasap. Kasap, who had coincidentally met a French military officer and had left for Paris for an education, returns back to Istanbul during the 1870s and published the newspaper Diyojen. With this, the beginning of the Ottoman humour publications had set off. Later on, we see the illustrations of the first Turkish cartoonist Ali Fuat Bey in the Kahkaha newspaper. Up until that day, it was mostly the non-Muslims who had been in this business. There are more than 200 publications between the years of 1908-1912. 105 of these publications are humour newspapers. This is proof of the fact that the tradition of humour was widespread during those times. These were generally magazines that were 2-pages in print. However, at times, there were 8-page newspapers too. Most newspapers were in black and white due to the printing technologies of the time. With this, there were also magazines published in colour with European standards like Davul. It is also known that the newspaper called Eşek had reached a circulation of 25,000. When we take a closer look at the publishers of these magazines, we may see the prominent names of Turkish literature. It was none other than Hüseyin Rahmi, who had printed the magazine Boşboğaz, while Mahmut Nedim had published the magazine Incili Çavuş. Caricatures are a useful resource in regards to attaining knowledge about the past times. At the same time, they are like mirrors”.

About the author

Bülent Üçpunar

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