IRSS Continues with a Talk on the Tan Matbaası Incident (December 4, 1945)

This semester’s third IRSS seminar was delivered on 26 March 2015 by James Ryan (Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Pennsylvania and Visiting Researcher at Bilkent’s IR Department). Mr. Ryan’s intriguing paper was entitled “The Anatomy of a Riot: Political Violence, the Birth of Multiparty Politics and the Destruction of Tan Matbaası, December 4, 1945.” The seminar was organized in cooperation with the Department of Political Science, with Dr. Onur İşçi (IR) serving as discussant and Dr. İlker Aytürk (POLS) acting as moderator.
In his presentation, James Ryan offered a multi-layered narrative of the Tan Incident – one of the many hitherto overlooked chapters in early republican Turkish history. Mr. Ryan’s interwoven account conjured up the voices of both perpetrators and victims (Sabiha and Zekeriya Sertel), unearthing substantial evidence regarding the anatomy of the riot and offering probable scenarios vis-à-vis the role of the state. As Ryan successfully highlights in his research, the Tan Matbaası incident occurred at a critical conjecture in Turkish history when the nascent republic was going through a simultaneous transition from neutrality to pro-Atlantic alliance in foreign affairs and from a single party regime to multi-party democracy in its domestic politics.