Ercüment Ekrem Talu’s Meşhedi character was born on the pages of Akbaba humor magazine in the early periods of the Turkish Republic and, due to extensive interest of the readers, continued his adventures in small stories or jokes and eventually in novels. While creating Meşhedi and the characters around him, Ercüment Ekrem made use of the figures in traditional Turkish theater but did not include all these figures in the series. In this article, Meşhedi series is introduced in the second part after the introduction. In the third chapter titled “Figures in Meşhedi Series”, it is evaluated why Talu uses some instead of all figures in traditional Turkish theater. The main people in this series are Meşhedi, Torik Necmi and Cekirgefendi. Meşhedi is the Acem figure in Karagöz and Orta Oyunu. Torik Necmi is the equivalent of Külhanbeyi figure. Çekirgefendi is the equivalent of Hacivat / Pişekâr, but it does not exactly match it. However, he does not meet another character who would mirror the Hacivat-Karagöz and Pişekâr-Kavuklu discord with him. He is an intellectual figure who reconciled with the “populism” principle of the Republic. It is in a solidarity and egalitarian relationship with its surroundings. The series also includes imitations such as Arab, Albanian, Greek, Armenian, Jewish and Greek. However, “Turkish“ and “Kurdish” figures are not included. While Turkish figure is not included in the series, Torik Necmi's Turkishness is emphasized. The political atmosphere of the period explains the absence of these figures. The series also includes Greek, Armenian and Jewish figures. The Armenian and Jewish figures are influenced by the political atmosphere of the period and are approached somewhat differently than in the Karagöz and orta oyunu. But this difference is not very crucial. The fourth section of the article deals with why Talu has chosen to deal with the Acem (Persian), in other words, why Meşhedi? The process of the birth of Meşhedi character in Akbaba magazine was examined and it was seen that Meşhedi originated from Hemedanizade Ali Naci (Karacan), an Iranian journalist who overlapped with the Acem type in the magazine. In the Meşhedi series, where the imitation figures in Karagöz and orta oyunu are used more, possible answers to the question of why Meşhedi was chosen or come to the fore instead of one of the axis figures were sought. One of the answers given to the question of “why Meşhedi” is that the series, in fact, can be a parody of the excesses of the new nation-state in creating its own mythical past. It can be considered as a humorous answer to the “Turkish History Thesis”, which has been delineated clearly only at the early 1930s but whose origins has been established long before; and to the “Sun-Language Theory”, which is the most extreme form of the claims about the origins of the Turkish language. Another possibility is that the hidden discomfort felt by Tatar and Azeri intellectuals who came to the fore in the world of politics and thought before the establishment of the Republic and in the early periods of the Republic may have been expressed through Meşhedi. It is also possible that Iranian Hemedanizade Ali Naci and Azeri Ahmet Ağaoğlu, who excels among these intellectuals, may have become the target of humor through Meşhedi. Meşhedi series can also be construed as a resistance to the disintegration of classical Turkish theater, which is another factor that explains its popularity.


Meşhedi series, Ercüment Ekrem Talu, Akbaba, traditional Turkish theater, Acem, Turkish History Thesis, Sun-Language Theory.

Number of pages: 1437-1478
Full text:
Turkish Studies - Language and Literature
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