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Butun Dunya (The Whole World) – Celebrating its 10th Anniversary – June 2008

One of the best and most educational magazines in Turkey, ‘’Butun Dunya’’ has reached its 10th anniversary with the June 2008 issue. One hundred and sixty-page magazine has many book reviews, articles, memoirs, photographs of children and reproductions of paintings of Turkish artists; this time a beautiful painting ‘’Gelincikler – The Red Poppies’’ by Bekir Ustun on the back cover.

Butun Dunya was published for many years starting back in the 50s but disappeared in the 70s. Then in 1998, the magazine was re-introduced under the leadership of Mete Akyol, a famous newspaper reporter and writer who began his career while he was a student at Tarsus American College, also in the 50s. Today, the magazine is a cultural publication of Baskent University in Ankara, and Mete Akyol is the Editor-in-Chief.

In his editorial, ‘’Cıktık Acık Alınla, On Yilda…’’ Mete Akyol, writes that magazines become a part of our wealth only if it has a readership, just like the concerts or theatres if they have audiences. The magazine not only has a wide readership but also a dedicated staff who give us a tremendous joy of reading with many wonderful commentaries and articles. Thank you Mete, thank you Cigdem, thank you Gulcin, our former Tarsus teacher Haydar Gofer and everyone who contributes to this treasure of Turkey.

Among the many commentaries, a tribute to Leyla Gencer, tells the story of  Turkey’s greatest Soprano and her achievements, whose ashes were scattered over the Bosphorous, just like the ashes of Erol Erken, a Tarsus graduate, some years back. The article by Yener Erguven, a guest writer, brought back memories of four years at Talas American High School where he was a classmate from 1949-1952.  Its title, ‘’Birakmaz ki, Ayrilmak Olanakli Olsun Talas’dan’’ tells it all. Yener writes that he left Talas but Talas never left him and tells us the story of his appointment to a village school as a teacher in lieu of service in the military and the bond of friendship among the Talas graduates.

Engin Unsal, also a graduate of Talas and Tarsus American College and a frequent writer for Butun Dunya, tells us about his home visits in 1948 to Kozlu, near Adana, and his love of books. He is thrilled when his daughter gives him a book by  Grigoriy Petrov ‘’Beyaz Zambaklar Ulkesi’’ as a birthday present, which he had missed reading during his high school years. We learn that Grigoriy Petrov lived briefly at the Gelibolu Russian Refugee Camp which was recently honoured with a monument of their own.

The article also tells us that Ataturk had also read Beyaz Zambaklar Ulkesi and recommended to his commanders. The book tells the story of the creation of Finland out of the years of domination by the Russians. It is interesting that the book was first published in 1924 in Serbian language and translated into Turkish from the Bulgarian version. The book has been recently translated from the Russian version and published by Koridor Publishing House.

Metin Atamer continues with his series, ‘’Hem Malina Hem Mihina’’; this time writing about Ibrahim Bey, a retired railroad worker. The article by Ilyas Halil, ‘’ Longing for a Country’’ tells the story of the year 1939 when he was 9 years old.

I purchased the magazine in Ankara early on June 3rd, looking for an article on ‘’Allianoi’’ and started reading it in front of the newly opened D&R store near the ‘Kugulu Park – The Swan Park’’. Maybe it was the impact of the articles that I had read or my old age; the photograph of a bird drinking water from a cup held by a security officer in the final page brought tears to my eyes. ‘’A photograph is worth a thousand words’’, sent by Ilyas Goker.

Yuksel Oktay, PE.
7 June 2008, Istanbul

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