SAGA OF FRIENDSHIP: Asa Kent Jennings and the American Friends of Turkey
by Rifat N. Bali
This book, which is based on archival documents and private letters that are being used for the first time, chronicles the little known but fascinating story of Asa Kent Jennings, a YMCA secretary, who arrived to Izmir in September 1922 just after the Turkish Nationalist Forces had liberated the city from the invading Greek Forces. A year later Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) proclaimed the birth of the Turkish Republic.
Asa Kent and his son Asa Will Jennings were thus eyewitnesses to the building of modern Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and the other Republican leaders. They were at the same time important but little known actors in propagating social work activities in Turkey, such as donating purebred cattles to the Gazi Farm in Ankara, building up playgrounds, libraries, giving assistance to Turkish students for graduate studies in America, assisting the Children's Protection Society (Himaye-i Etfal), and so forth.
The American Friends of Turkey society that Asa Kent Jennings established in July 1930 was instrumental in all these activities. Asa Kent Jennings was also present in the4 negotiations and talks with Hamdullah Suphi Tanriover, the president of the nationalistic Turkish Hearths (Turk Ocaklari) organization, which eventually resulted in Arthus Nash, an American businessman of the Universalist faith, donating a sizeable sum of money to this organization for the erection of their headquarters building in Ankara.