This online database consists of some 1,500 Turkish- and English-language articles written by Bülent Ecevit between 1950 and 1961, the majority of them for the prominent daily paper Ulus. While much is known of Ecevit’s long career as a statesman–beginning with his service as Minister of Labor 1961 and lasting well into the 2000s–this early chapter in his life remains largely unknown. Yet the cultural commentary, art criticism, political analyses and travel writings that he produced in the 1950s constitute an extraordinarily prolific and consistent body of work on the importance of civic culture and democracy. The columns reveal the seeds of his later political thought, as well as giving a new perspective on the importance of the arts to his intellectual life.
All original research has been carried out by Sarah-Neel Smith, research director for the Ecevit digitization project, with the collaboration of SALT Research and the Rahşan Ecevit-Bülent Ecevit Foundation of Science and Art & Culture (Ankara). Over a four year period, SALT Research scanned all of Ecevit’s publicly available writings and converted them to fully searchable texts which match the originals. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Foundation founding member Emrehan Halıcı, Rahşan Ecevit, and her sister Asude Aral, who facilitated this project by supplying all the missing documents, the database encompasses Ecevit’s entire corpus of writing from the 1950s. All data has been compiled with permission of Rahşan Ecevit-Bülent Ecevit Foundation of Science and Art & Culture.
Sarah-Neel Smith, research director of the Ecevit digitization project, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she teaches modernism in a global and comparative perspective. The Ecevit online archive is the direct result of Smith’s ongoing research, begun in 2012, into Bülent Ecevit’s involvement in international debates about democracy and art after WWII. Her current book project How to Build An Art World: Art & Politics in 1950s Turkey investigates Ecevit’s place in the context of an emergent modern art world in the post-war period.