A French-Turkish Medical Journal published in Istanbul: Gazette de Hôpitaux (Ceride-i Emakin üs-Sıhha, 1887)
The teaching of medical sciences in French in the Imperial School of Medicine in Istanbul during the first three quarters of the nineteenth century and the large number of European physicians in the Ottoman Empire stimulated the publication of medical journals in French or in Turkish with abstracts in French. The present article aims to study Gazette de Hôpitaux (Ceride-i Emakin üs-Sıhha) published in Istanbul from 1887 on due to the initiatives of Mavroyéni Pacha (1817-1902) after he was assigned "inspecteur général des hôpitaux de l'Empire Ottoman." According to N.Taşkıran, 131 issues were published. However, we only have been able to locate 73 issues (1887-1893) in various libraries in Turkey ans USA. The table of contents of these issues is given in appendix of the present article.
The journal was sponsored by Abdülhamid II (1842-1918) since Mavroyéni was his private physician. The design of its front page is very similar to the Gazette des Hôpitaux (Paris) an it is highly probable that Mavroyéni was influences by this French journal. The first issue appeared on 13 May 1887 and the editorial board worked in the premises of the Société Impériale de Médecine de Constantinople of which Mavroyéni was a respected member.
As stated in the editorial of the first issue, the journal's main aim was to publish case studies by doctors working in Ottoman hospitals, their observations, hospital statistics in order to incorporate their experience to medical literature. Secondly, to inform medical doctors working in Istanbul and the provinces from European medical literature in order to enable them to follow up novelties. A third purpose is to inform European doctors from andemic diseases and epidemics encountered in Ottoman lands.
It is interesting to find in the journal -at least in the first few years-- a collaboration between Turkish doctors and their non-muslim (French, Greek etc.) colleagues. The fact that this French-Turkish journal is initiated and edited by non-muslim doctors such as Mavroyéni, Pardo and others is also noteworthy since the latters had protested in 1865-70 against the teaching of medicine in Turkish in the Imperial School of medicine arguing that Turkish language was not adequate for teaching this discipline. What led them to publish a French-Turkish medical journal almost 30 years later and to admit that "la langue Turque s'adapte parfaitement aux sciences modernes et à la médecine surtout"? This new attitude has probably its origins in the teaching of medical sciences in Turkish which proved successful during these 30 years.
The increase in the number of Turkish physicians in the Empire in 1880s probably led to a decrease in the authority of non-muslim and European physicians practicing in the Empire. Thus, in order to maintain their influence they initiated a bi-lingual journal and tried to address to a larger number of readers. It also may arose from marketing the journal to francophone doctors practising in Ottoman lands and in Europe.
The authors contribuing to the journal were mostly doctors practising in Ottoman health institutions. Articles by European doctors were also published. As the contributions diminished from 1892 on, the journal lost its multi-cultural character and was essentially supported by Dr. Mavroyéni et Dr. Pardo. Articles publihed in the journal can be classifies in five groupes: 1) articles for educational purposes such as conferences on contagious diseases or epidemics, 2) Case studeis and observations 3) Articles dealing with new treatments and diagnostic methods, 4) Articles on Ottoman health institutions, 5) Statistics 6) miscellaneous (book reviews, necrologies etc).
These articles gives valuable information on diseases encountered in the 19th century Ottoman hospitals. On the other hand it is a significant source for those who work on Ottoman medical terminology since it enable the researcher to find the French equivalent of the Ottoman medical terms since French and Turkish section of the journal are almost identical.