Edited by: Seval Şahin, Alp Eren Topal, Stefo BenlisoyBuy
As a person whose life is so colorful as to be the subject of novels and movies, the things that Teodor Kasap, the most prolific and influential author of his generation, packed into his 65-year life are pushing the limits of imagination. This Greek from Kayseri, who assisted Alexandre Dumas in Paris for ten years, sided with Giuseppe Garibaldi in Italy’s struggle for independence, left his mark on the still flourishing Ottoman journalism with the newspapers he published one after another upon his return to Istanbul in 1870, led the humor press, contributed to the constitution of contemporary Turkish theater with his copyrighted works and translations, and left big impact on Ottoman politics as a diehard advocate of the Ottomanism cause, unfortunately has not received even a fraction of the attention he deserved in our historiography.
While his intellectual and pen friends Namık Kemal and Ahmed Midhat were commemorated by twentieth-century Turkish literary historians to a point that can still be heard today, Kasap’s intellectual legacy has vanished under the ruins of the collapsed Ottomanism case.
Çıngıraklı Tatar is a humor newspaper that Teodor Kasap published 29 issues for four months in the spring of 1873, following the closure of Diyojen. While turning the pages of this newspaper, which for the first time is published in Latin-script Turkish language by adhering to its original design, it’s impossible not to be amazed by Kasap’s sarcastic style, his mastery of combining criticism and irony, his precision of colloquial language, his well presentation of a picture of Istanbul’s complex social existence in that period, and his passionate devotion to Ottomanism. In every line, Kasap, one of the most exceptional figures of the nineteenth century Ottoman intellectual world, not just lightens our spirits by making us smile even today, but also gives us hope for the possibility of politics to be built on the denominator of being human and being free from all forms of discrimination.