Had No Books
My father was, of course, highly educated, because he was a general staff officer. He was Ataturk’s classmate for example. He knew all the Turkish generals. So, he was highly educated. My mother came from a poor Greek family. She knew to read and write. She could read Greek novels, but she was at the level of first year of high school, let’s say, as in education. And there were no books. I don’t understand, but at that time, even today, there are no books in the average families, even educated families, they don’t have bookshelves.1
That is something I saw in Paris when I came as a student — for example, my father had a copy of the Quran, that he knew by-heart. My mother had the Greek gospels, plus a few Greek novels that she read, and then that was about all, and the dictionary.2 I remember a German Turkish dictionary, because before World War I, the Turks and the Germans were very solid allies, and they taught German in the military schools in Istanbul, besides Turkish. So, it was strange. And the other families that I visited had no books. They studied books at school. Now, it’s changed, but not totally. I mean the average people don’t have bookshelves.