In the Cold War era, as Turkey negotiated its place in a changing global order, tourism emerged as an important site of diplomacy. The amalgamation of tourism and diplomacy reached its peak during the cruise organized by the Turkey Tourism Association with the ocean liner Tarsus in 1954. The main destination of the cruise was the United States. Alongside an exhibition on the ship's deck promoting Turkey, the Tarsus also carried fashion models and musicians, staging performances to introduce the “people of the free world” to the “friendly nation Turkey.” The imaginary relationship between the female body and national identity put women at the forefront of the cruise's cultural diplomacy efforts. The case of the Tarsus reveals how social identities, spaces, and histories are performatively constructed in the context of tourism and how these processes both reproduce and challenge the broader systems and manifestations of power.

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