Indeed, today's Hurriyet, one of the top Turkish newspapers in English language, is running an interesting story about how the first beauty queens where chosen in the Turkish Republic and how an Armenian lady became the Republic's first beauty representative. The debate, amid which the first Miss Turkey was chosen, was very tense.
Araksi Çetinyan was the 1st Miss. Turkey
The debate was tense not because of Araksi's Armenian origine, but because of the times and the people's attitude toward women in Turkey. According to the researcher on the subject "the general public thought it immoral to hold events showcasing women so openly," writes Hurriyet. "The first title went to Araksi Çetinyan, an Armenian Turk, in 1925, while Keriman Halis won both the Turkish and international titles in 1932," the newspaper writers.
The first beauty pageant was held in Istanbul in 1925 and Araksi von it.
“Despite the establishment of the Republic, the approach based on seeing everyone as an Ottoman subject was maintained. It was not her Armenian identity but her Ottoman identity that was more important. That’s why there was no problem in giving Çetinyan the right to represent Turkey,” said Feza Kürkçüoğlu, who is currently conducting a study on the subject.
The second contest for the title Miss. Turkey took place in 1929 at the call of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. He was the reformer that aimed to create a modern Turkey. Nearly 125 young women participated in the pageant. Araksi entered the contest, but finished the third. Feriha Tevfik was the winner of the second contest.