Anadolu Agency marks 101st anniversary of its founding

By Dilara Hamit

ANKARA (AA) – Exactly 101 years ago, the announcement of the establishment of Anadolu Agency was made during a meeting at the military headquarters of the founder of modern Turkey in the capital Ankara which now houses the General Directorate of State Meteorology.

Returning to Ankara on Dec. 27, 1919, after the Sivas Congress, a pivotal weeklong congress of the Turkish National Movement, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk chose the two-story stone building, a former agricultural school, to announce the establishment of the Turkish Republic's first news agency.

Following the Sivas Congress, members of the Association for the Defense of Rights of Eastern Anatolia, a regional resistance organization, decided to travel to Ankara. Upon this decision, the Ankara deputy governor chose the agricultural school that was built in 1908 as the most suitable working place for the delegation.

On Dec. 27, when Ataturk and his brothers in arms arrived in Ankara, they settled in the building for nearly six months and carried out all their work. During this period, the school became the headquarters where the national struggle and the entire country were managed.

The establishment and opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the founding of Anadolu Agency, the designation of the Turkish Republic and the National Pact, also known as Misak-i Milli, and the suppression of rebellions were managed from this building.

Since the agricultural school was allocated to the General Directorate of State Meteorology, one of the rooms used by Ataturk has been kept open to visitors.

The room is being preserved in memory of Ataturk, where original items such as his table, green curtains, a carpet, and a stove are on display.

-Founding of Anadolu Agency

Realizing the importance of the media, Ataturk had started thinking about the possibility of setting up a news agency that would convey the voice of the War of Independence within the country and around the world.

After a discussion at a train station, two Turkish intellectuals — Halide Edip Adivar and Yunus Nadi Abalioglu — conceived the idea of the Turkish global news wire Anadolu Agency.

Adivar, according to the historical documents of the General Directorate of State Meteorology, had held a meeting with Ataturk and several other officials regarding the news agency.

She had told Ataturk about how citizens were unaware of the outside world or the state because they could not receive any news on them. She had mentioned her discussions with Abalioglu about Anadolu Agency and how they wanted to send the agency's news to every place with a telegraph office and to post it in mosques, where there were no offices at the time.

The lack of an organization that would meet the need to promote the national cause at home and abroad and speed up news flow emerged during the national struggle.

On the orders of Ataturk, the agency began its operation on April 6, 1920, to communicate the voice of Anatolia to the world. Before the birth of the Anadolu Agency, the Turkey-Havas Reuter agency had started operation under Ottoman rule.

Following the Ottoman Empire's defeat in World War I and occupation of Istanbul by the Allied Forces, Damat Ferid Pasha, the then de facto prime minister, agreed to set up the Turkey-Havas Reuter agency, which gave concessions to foreign journalists.

However, the stories they used to disseminate were inimical to Turkey's interests. Ataturk was disturbed because their stories were based on fabrications.

Anadolu Agency would respond to those needs. The idea of the agency was born in a conversation between Abalioglu and Adivar on April 1, 1920, at Akhisar Station in the township of Geyve, passing from Istanbul to Ankara.

The name "Anadolu Agency" was liked by Abalioglu. Among Adivar's suggestions were "Turkish Agency" and "Ankara Agency."

Today, Anadolu Agency ranks among the world's most reputed news agencies with more than 3,000 colleagues of 124 nationalities and broadcasts in 13 languages.

It provides news in real-time to 6,000 media outlets across 100 countries with a daily average of 2,000 stories, 2,350 photos, 9 infographics, 435 videos and 18 live broadcasts.