Turkey's First Female Auto Racing Champion: Samiye Cahit Morkaya


INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF SPORT, vol.39, no.10, pp.1178-1198, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 10
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09523367.2022.2117163
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Periodicals Index Online, American History and Life, CAB Abstracts, Historical Abstracts, Political Science Complete, Sociological abstracts, SportDiscus
  • Page Numbers: pp.1178-1198
  • Keywords: Early Republican period, auto-racing, modernization, modern women's identity, female driver
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of this study was to analyze the experience of Turkey's first female auto racing champion Samiye Cahit Morkaya during the early Republican period in the context of efforts to construct Turkey's modern women's identity. Newspapers and magazines published between 1932 and 1935 when Samiye Cahit participated in auto racing, were analyzed. Morkaya came at the top by breaking her own records in all races in which she participated. Starting with the first race she entered in 1932, she was called the first lady driver, and her success was portrayed as elating in the media of the period. Her championship in 1933 following her wins against male opponents resulted in a court case. The records she broke in 1934 were presented in the newspapers of the period as a hallmark of the ambition, courage, talent, and bravery of Turkish women. The accident she experienced in the 1935 races led to the end of her racing career and permanent loss of function in one of her arms. Consequently, while Morkaya represented the Western - modern - image of a woman on the one hand, on the other hand she challenged the traditional image of a Turkish woman with her successes in breaking down gender stereotypes.