Tuberculosis, Medicine and Politics: Public Health in the Early Republican Turkey
This study examines the struggle against tuberculosis in the early Republican Turkey in the context of health policy. The thesis explains that the population problem derived from the years between the Balkan Wars and the formation of the Republic shaped the public health area. Medicine is discussed as political, and the dimensions of the regime’s intervention in social and daily domains are introduced.
In 1930s Turkey, in the process of the formation of the nation-state, the improvement of the population qualitatively and quantitatively came onto the agenda, and methods on how to prevent population decrease are discussed. In this process, it is observed that physicians appeared as active actors. The physicians played roles in both the prevention of epidemic diseases, and public health education.
Tuberculosis is handled as one facet of the epidemic diseases problem in the early Republican period, and it is explained that the policy developed in this period in the field of health was realised actually with also the intense efforts of voluntary societies due to the financial shortages of the state. Additionally, the normalisation of the body through dealing with it in the social field and the inclusion of medicine within social control norms are revealed.