On 4 February 1934, the secretary-general of the Republican People's Party (RPP) received an utterly distressed letter penned by Kerimoğlu Ethem, a young waiter employed at the restaurant of Şakir Usta, located in the small western Anatolian town of Bergama. Ethem's letter contained harsh complaints about the head of the RPP's Bergama branch, who had sworn at the waiter and beaten him because of a minor problem with service. “Except a few loyal supporters, no one likes him in Bergama,” wrote Ethem, “but people are afraid of raising complaints against him as he is the head of the party. I write to inform you about this immoral man, who degrades the esteem of the party in Bergama and openly defies the government's authority.” Upon receiving Ethem's letter, the secretary-general immediately ordered party inspectors to investigate the allegations. Ethem's complaint was just one among many that flooded the secretary-general's mailbox during the early 1930s.
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