The backbone of the work Letters from Berthe Georges-Gaulis consists of correspondence between Georges-Gaulis and Maréchal Hubert Lyautey, who was the French colonial administrator in Morocco from 1919 to 1928. Aliye Pekin Çelik uncovered the letters from the private archives of her father Fuat Pekin, one of the first engineers of the Republic, and this marks the first time that these appear in print.
These letters contain first hand testimonies from Georges-Gaulis, who lived in Istanbul before World War I and visited Anatolia many times as a journalist during the War of Independence. The letters shed light on France’s politics of the Middle East and Turkey at that time, conveying daily reflections from this particular political scene, and additionally they present a portrait of a French woman actively engaged in political life in the 1920s.
These letters are accompanied by detailed biographies of the parties by Zeynep Kocabıyıkoğlu Çeçen, as well as an introduction by Cemil Koçak paints a comprehensive panorama of the period.
“The news, expectations, and hopes of Gaulis may have been partially wrong, but that is not the issue. We need to make a habit of reviewing the conditions that made her write her observations then. That’s exactly where the historical significance of the letters lies.”
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