Mesure Doğan (English text: Mesure Dogan)

Interview recorded in March 2019

Interviewer: Serhan Bulanık

Mesure Doğan was born in Hasköy, a small village outside of Izmir in the late 1940s.  She has four siblings, and she is the oldest daughter.  In this interview, she covers a range of topics, including her childhood in a small village, marriage, children, religion, and her business. Her parents were farmers in the village, and they were likely enslaved as young children in the last days of the Ottoman Empire. The interview was conducted in her home in Izmir. Throughout the interview, Bulanık refers to Doğan as “Mesure teyze,” which is an honorific given to women who are elders in the community. Though it literally means “Auntie Mesure,” it is a term of respect when speaking to one’s social elders.

Mesure’s brother, Şakir Doğuluer, served as the president of the Afro-Turk Association when this interview was recorded. The Afro-Turk Association was the primary representative body of the Afro-Turks of Izmir.  When Mustafa Olpak was the president, he brought as many Afro-Turks into the fold of the organization, including Mesure Doğan. She spoke kindly of Olpak in this interview and credited him with presenting a positive image of the Afro-Turks to the wider Turkish Republic. 

Doğan also speaks at length about her picking cotton in Turkey in the 1970s and 1980s.  She focuses on the logistics of the work, including tools, length of the work day, and food, but she also talks about the role farming played in the life of her rural village.

Interview notes – While there is a brief English translation of the interview here, the Turkish translation has more details and length.  It is also included on this page.  The primary video runs for about 30 minutes.  There are many more additional recordings that did not make it into the final edited version. These additional recordings have not been translated.

All videos are the property of Nikki Brown, the Afro-Turk Association, and They may be used or reproduced for educational or academic research and scholarship purposes. For other commercial purposes, access and use require the expressed written consent of Nikki Brown and the Afro-Turk Association. Before using the interviews for research, educational, or commercial purposes, please email Nikki Brown for more information.

Lastly, these interviews were made possible with a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Turkey.

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Photographs of the interview

Additional recordings

These recordings are outtakes and extra material. These recordings are in Turkish. There is no English translation or subtitle. Contact Nikki Brown for more information using or reproducing these recordings.

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