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Turkish theatre history



The shadow theatre, which involves two-dimensional figures casting their shadows on a screen, had important place in Turkey as well as throughout the larger area of the Ottoman Empire. The Turks, before they came to know shadow theatre in the sixteenth century, had enjoyed a long-standing established puppet tradition. There is virtually no kind of puppet show that Turkey has not tried. Puppet tradition came from Central Asia, but shadow theatre did not. Central Asia and Persia do not have shadow theatre. It was borrowed from Egypt in the sixteenth century. One question, however, remains and that is the origin of the Egyptian shadow theatre. There seems-little doubt that the shadow theatre was borrowed from Java by the Arabs. Arab trading and raiding expeditions kept them in continuous contact with Java. Now the question as to whether there was any indirect influence via Egypt of the Javanese on the Turkish shadow theatre is difficult to answer; yet there are several points in common between Turkish and Javanese shadow theatres. Turkish shadow theatre appears to be the product of a historical process whereby the Mameluke-derived shadow play technique was taken over by the Turks from a technical point of view only. In addition, it can be assumed that the Turkish shadow theatre borrowed movements, postures, and costumes of the Ottoman shadow theatre along with human actors such as Ottoman jesters and grotesque dancers, both of which had been in existence long before the advent of shadow theatre.

Beberuhi Emin Senyer playing Karagoz

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1. The destruction of the Ottoman Khilafa because of Arab and Turkish nationalism-1924
This fervent Turkish nationalism under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal came into power in Ankara (Turkey's capital today). The Ottoman empire's last Sultan, Mohammed VI, fled in 1922 after the Sultanate had been abolished. Every member of the Ottoman empire was expelled from the country two years later. Turkey was proclaimed a republic, with Ataturk as its first president.
Arab nationalism affected the fall of the Caliphate with the view that Arabs, not Turks should be rulers. This nationalism conveniently exploited by the Lawrence of Arabia, led to a push to wrest control from the Turks of the Ummah's leadership hence expediting the end of Khilafa for the first time in the 1300-year history of Islam

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