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Istanbul During the Balkan Wars (1912–1913)

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Cholera, Medicine and the Press

image of Turkish Historical Review

During the Balkan Wars (1912–1913) Istanbul suddenly found itself at the frontline of an unexpectedly disastrous conflict with its Balkan neighbours. One direct consequence of these wars, through troop mobilisation and refugee movement, was a major outbreak of cholera in the Ottoman capital. While entrepreneurs tried to turn this calamity into profit, by selling (useless) medication, the government tried to control the flow of information regarding the disease in order to better combat the epidemic and both parties used the press to achieve their goals. Despite the chaos of the war and the size of the outbreak, the acted efficiently and successfully prevented a potential disaster.

Affiliations: 1: University of Antwerp,


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