The claim that a photo shows İsmet İnönü holding only U.S. flag

CLAIM / Photo: İsmet İnönü, the second President of Turkey, holds only the U.S. flag.


President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan showed a photo of İsmet İnönü, the second President of Turkey, in his speech during the camp of Justice and Development Party (AKP) held in Kızılcahamam on October 7, 2018. He asserted that İsmet İnönü waved flag of the United States of America (USA) in this photo.

This speech was mentioned in subheadings and headlines of Yeni Şafak, Milliyet, Sabah, Star and Hürriyet newspapers on October 8, 2018. The news contain a photo of Erdoğan holding a picture of İsmet İnönü. Furthermore, it is possible to see the same photo during the speech at 3:35 p.m. broadcasted live by A Haber.

The same claim was discussed by numerous Twitter and Facebook users after the speech of President Erdoğan. Several users stated that İnönü actually holds a Turkish flag as well in the photo shown by Erdoğan. Tweet of the Deputy Leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Veli Ağbaba has been retweeted almost 2,000 times and has received 5,800 likes up to now. Reactions of users were mentioned in an article of Onedio.

The said photo of İsmet İnönü was taken for LIFE magazine by German photographer Günter R. Reitz during the visit of Vice President of the U.S., Lyndon Johnson to Ankara on August 26, 1962.

The photo was taken in 1962

In one of the photos obtained from Getty Images, there are two flags in one hand of İnönü who was the President of that period. However, only the U.S. flag attracts notice because of the shooting angle and wind. In the second photo taken from the same angle, Turkish flag can be seen near the U.S. flag in his hand.

The following descriptions were made for the first photo and the second photo, respectively: “President of Turkey, İsmet İnönü wings miniature U.S. and Turkish flags. He has a hearing aid in his ear.

“President of Turkey, İsmet İnönü holds the miniature Turkish flag and wears a hearing aid.”

In the photo, the building behind İsmet İnönü is the historical building of İş Bank.

Earlier view of İş Bank building in Ulus.

Further information about the visit of Vice President Johnson can be received from the official document archive of the U.S. Department of State. It can be observed from the telegram of Johnson sent from the U.S. consulate in İstanbul on August 30, 1962 that he visited five countries (Lebanon, Iraq, Cyprus, Greece and Turkey) in the Middle East.Photos of Johnson taken during his visit can be foundunder the section “Between Friends: Turkish-American Diplomatic Relations” in the photo album of the U.S. Department of State.

İsmet İnönü is with Vice President Johnson. (August 26, 1962)

Two videos broadcasted on June 29, 2009 by a YouTube channel called HelmerReenberg contain the images of the visits of Johnson to said five countries. In the second video, the Turkish Cypriot citizens holding the Cypriot and the U.S. flags like the miniature flags in İnönü’s hand are seen in the 2nd minute 53rd second.

Further photos of the above mentioned German photographer, Günter R. Reitz has taken in Turkey in the 60s can be found as well.

Missile crisis between the Soviets and the U.S.

Another document related to the photo of İsmet İnönü is the article of Akdoğan Özkan in T24 about “Cuban Crisis” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Following execution of the cooperation agreement between Turkey and the U.S. in 1959, 15 nuclear warhead missiles were placed in Turkey in July 1962. Underlying reason of Johnson’s visit to five countries that had regional importance in the eyes of NATO can be understood from the telegram stated above as well. A “missile crisis” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was growing due to the missiles placed in Cuba in October of that year by the Soviets.

To sum up, the claim that İsmet İnönü holds only a U.S. flag in a photo shown by President Erdoğan during an event of AKP is not true. It can be seen from another photo with the same shooting angle that İnönü actually holds both Turkish and the U.S. flags. The relevant photo was taken in Ankara during the visits of Vice President of the U.S., Johnson to five countries, including Turkey in August 1962.


Getty Images, the claimed photo of İsmet İnönü

Getty Images, the photo showing that İsmet İnönü holds both Turkish and the U.S. flags

Arkitera, an old photo of the historical İş Bank building in Ankara, Ulus, May 14, 2013

Office of the Historian, telegram of Johnson found from the official document archive of the U.S. Department of State, photo archive of the U.S.A.

YouTube, the video showing visits of Johnson to Middle East (part 1)

YouTube, the video showing visits of Johnson to Middle East (part 2)

T24, article of Akdoğan Özkan

Translation: Sonay Ün