Extract

Birth of a Nation

Diplomacy in Ankara

How the Republic put Ankara on the map

Ankara, when it became Turkey’s capital, was a very sleepy and provincial place, and it was chosen as capital chiefly because it was on the way to somewhere else. It had a railway station, one of the stopovers of the German-planned Berlin–Baghdad line, and its buffet served as the French Embassy. However, when his first Excellency put his head out of the swing doors, he contemplated a marsh, with some ruins on a hill; and, when the first British Excellency arrived, to have dinner with the President, he would have to pick his white-tied way through snow-drifts, being careful to avoid being eaten by a wolf or a Turkish feminist.

However, even back then, there was a point to the town. The ideology behind it was a powerful one…

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Issue 39, 2008 Diplomatic Secrets
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Other Highlights from Cornucopia 39
  • The Sweet Taste of Summer

    Colourful mountains of melons are a common sight at weekly street markets. Connoisseurs examine them, sniff them, weigh them in their hands. The stalk should have dried slightly, the bottom yield gently if pressed and the fruit should feel heavy and full.
    Also see Cornucopia 47, Watermelons
    More cookery features

  • The Land that Midas Touched

    Phrygia, in western Anatolia, was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the Near East – home to Midas, Gordius and Alcibiades. Today the remnants of their lives litter this forgotten landscape, abandoned by all but a few villagers who still tell stories of the unfortunate king who lived to regret his golden gift. David Barchard heads to the Phyrigian highlands to explore a land of myth and mystery. Photographs by Fritz von der Schulenburg


  • Crockery and crocuses

    In Turkey the tireless George Maw was able to indulge in both his loves. He found inspiration for the decorative tiles made by his family pottery. And he discovered the plants that inspired his magnificent book on crocuses.


  • Ankara’s Palaces of Diplomacy

    A new capital called for new architecture. Ankara in the 1920s and 1930s produced a fascinating diversity of styles as the foreign powers dragged themselves away from the Bosphorus and settled reluctantly on the Anatolian plateau


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Issue 39, 2008 Diplomatic Secrets
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