Welcome readers to todays offering from The Philatelist. So slip on your smoking jacket, fill your pipe, take your first sip of your adult beverage, and sit back in your most comfortable chair. We have a fun mythic tale to spin, as usual used by a new leader of a new country to bring people forward.
Visually this stamp is a mess. The paper is cheap and the printing is sub par. It is worth taking time to study. In it you can see a master blacksmith and a wolf. The wolf is sitting by protectively, as well she might. The wolf is the blacksmith’s mother!
The stamp today is issue A66 a one Ghurush stamp issued by Turkey in 1926. It is part of a 14 stamp issue in various denominations. According to the Scott catalog, the stamp is worth 25 cents used. It we are looking specifically for treasure, the stamp in this set to look out for is the mint 200 Ghurush stamp featuring the then Turkish president Kamal, worth$90. He is on a lot of stamps though, so this Philatelist will stick to the cheap stamp depicting the fun legend.
The Turkish President we know today as Ataturk, was born simply as Mustafa in present day Greece to Muslim Turkish parents. At the time people did not generally have last names. Kamal was added by a school teacher faced with 4 Mustafas in the class. Kamal means exact one as he was good at math. Ataturk was added as President when he was having everyone register a last name from an approved list of newly made up traditional Turkish last names. Ataturk was reserved for just Kamal and translates into big Turk guy. He served with distinction in the World War I Ottoman Turk army and was trained and educated by them in France, Germany, and Austria. He found himself able to maneuver into the Presidency of a new smaller Turkey now encamped in Ankara to avoid the old power centers in Istanbul.
Kamal set out to modernize a new Turkish nation. There were issues with this. There were a lot of ruins around Asia Minor but none of them were Turkish. The people were illiterate and the powerful were corrupt and defeated. Into this a lot of work went into developing a unique Turkish culture. Stories were woven of Turkish explorers mapping the world. Proof of this was offered in the name of the Amazon river in South America. Amazon River in ancient Turk translates into what a long river. Proving Turks first mapped it. The Arab alphabet was abandoned for the Latin one before universal education was put in place for the next generation. Religious garb was discouraged along with the fez which was too associated with the old system. Industrialization was also started, in my opinion leading to the myth on this stamp.
The story told on this stamp is the following. A boy is injured in a raid on his village and he becomes separated. A female wolf finds him and nurses him back to health. He then impregnates her leading to 10 super strong boys who became master blacksmiths and passed on their strength and talent to the Turkish race. An inspiring Turk story. An inspiring Ataturk story?
President Ataturk did much to modernize Turkey and ease it away from Asia and toward Europe. The pendulum is now swinging back but those opposed to that are still known as Kamalist, 90 years later. What a big Turk guy indeed.
Well my drink is empty and so I will pour another and raise it to President Mustafa Kamal Ataturk. Come again tomorrow for another story that can be learned from stamp collecting.