Images of children appear with striking frequency in Turkish Republican cartoons produced in the years immediately following the War of Independence (1919–23). Turkish nationalistic ideology commonly conceives of the nation as a sacred entity worthy of the people’s devotion and often uses the metaphor of family and blood relations to describe a covenantal bond. Like the members of a family, a national community develops around ideas of shared culture, history, and language. Gencer’s article examines the ways in which nationalist rhetoric influenced the cartoons that were published in popular satirical journals such as Akbaba and Karagöz. Not only did these cartoons consistently imagine and present the Turkish nation as an extended family unit, but they also forwarded the message that the nation, in its child-like state, requires collective nourishment and protection. Likewise, the image of the child is employed by cartoonists as a means to express the new nation’s potential for survival, maturation, and success. Cartoons of this period thus provide insight into the a particular brand of nationalistic ideology disseminated during the early years of the Turkish Republic.

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