James Ryan

Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Humanities

20132014 Forum on Violence

James Ryan


The Anatomy of a Riot: Political Violence, the Birth of Multiparty Politics and the Destruction of Tan Press, December 4, 1945

My project concerns an instance of anti-communist mob-violence that occurred in Istanbul in the wake of World War II. On December 4, 1945, following months of attacks, the printing house of the leftist daily newspaper Tan was destroyed by a mob of college students chanting anti-communist slogans and bearing portraits of president İsmet Inönü. The newspaper's owners, Zekeriya and Sabiha Sertel, were fixtures of Turkey's leftist intellectual elite and had close associations with a group of politicians who would ultimately form Turkey's first successful opposition political party – the Democrat Party – following the riot. My project will investigate the rhetorical exchanges that preceded this act of violence and the trials of the Sertels that led to their exile to the USSR in 1950.