Educator, linguist, historian and politician (B. 4 January 1873, Bodrum / Muğla – D. 8 August 1961, Istanbul). He is from a Jewish family which raised famous rabbis starting from the 16th century. His father Mişon Galanti Efendi who served to the Ottoman Empire for about forty years, his mother Coya Hanım from Kadron family of Rhodes. In some of his articles in French language he used the name Abraham Galanti. At the age of six he started primary school in Bodrum and learnt essentials of Hebrew in the first place. At the age of nine he was sent to Rhodes which had a wider Jewish community and better education possibilities. After completing primary school in 1887 he continued to Bodrum Middle School and later to Izmir High School. After his graduation from high school he learnt Hebrew, Turkish, Persian and French. In the next years he added German, English and Arabic to these languages.
Avram Galanti went to Rhodes in 1894 as a high school teacher and established a school here with the support of Alliance Israelite Universelle and Jewish community of Rhodes. Later, since French language had more importance in the educational program of these Alliance schools, he started to struggle to give more importance to Turkish language with some other Jewish intellectuals. Although he could not change the general attitude of the administration of Alliance, he made it possible that schools in Rhodes offered a Turkish education. Meanwhile he was interested in the new educational level of the Ottoman Empire and he published a notable series of essays in “Hizmet” newspaper titled “Maarifimiz Ne Yolda Terakki Edebilir?”. While he was teaching in Rodos High School, he was responsible of censoring publications abroad, which criticized Abdülhamid II’s personality and policy for six years on behalf of the government. At the same time he was inspector of Mediterranean Algerian State (Twelve Islands) on behalf of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs. Again while he was in Rhodes, he built communications with numerous Turkish intellectuals such as Poet Eşref who was sent to exile to Rhodes. He became member of a secret cell of Society of Union and Progress. However, since he was the official censor of Abdülhamid II rule was not in accordance with this membership, so he resigned after a while.
Galanti left Rhodes in 1902 and settled to Izmir. He continued teaching. Besides he wrote critiques in the “Ljamîa” newspaper, which was published in Izmir in Hebrew and in some French newspapers in order to impress extremely conservative Ottoman Jewish community. Some people who were disturbed by this, informed Abdülhamid II government accusing him of being an opponent. He also had decided to struggle with Abdülhamid government since he supported the Young Turks earlier. In 1904 he left Izmir and joined the Young Turks in Egypt. He started to published “La’Vara” newspaper in Cairo (1905).Using the freedom of being away from the Jewish community’s and Ottoman government’s pressures he continuously criticized the administration of the Jewish community, especially the chief rabbi. Meanwhile he wrote articles in accordance with the thought of İttihat ve Terakki Society in the “Progrès” newspaper, which was published in French language.
In these years he established a secret association called Mısır Cem‘iyyet-i İsrâiliyye and organized Ottoman Jews in exile. In 1907 he met Ahmet Rıza Bey, leader of Young Turks in Europe during his visit to Cairo. He promised him to enable the support of Le Comité İsraélite du Caire established by the Jews of Cairo who spoke French for the 2nd Young Turks Congress, which would gather in Paris. In these years he continued writing in newspapers of “Meşveret”, “ Şûrâ-yi Ümmet”, “Şûra-yi Osmânî” and “Doğru Söz”. On the 23rd of July 1908 the 2nd Constitutional Period was declared and he closed “La Vara” newspaper, which was also the end of his political activities.
Avram Galanti left Egypt on the 14th of July 1909. To take the result of his suggestion to establish a Jewish settlement center in Sudan he went to England and Germany. Meanwhile he received the news about the death of his opponent chief rabbi Moşe Ha Levi and the establishment of Darülfünün-ı Osmanî (Istanbul University), accordingly he moved to Istanbul by the end of 1911 in order to stay there permanently. Since certain teachers were brought from Germany in 1914 for the reorganization of Darülfünun he was assigned as translator and assistant of G. Bergstrâsser, a professor of Semitic languages and cultures. In the same time he started to work as a secretary in Red Crescent and wrote articles in “Hilâl-i Ahmer” newspaper for three years. Together with Bergstrâsser he prepared the work “Elsine-i Sâmiy-ye Tarihi”. His articles of research and analysis were published in journals such as “Yeni Mecmua”, “Büyük Mecmua” and “Dârülfünun Edebiyat Fakültesi Mecmuası”. Besides he translated some Ottoman archive documents published in “Tarih-i Osmanî Encümeni Mecmuası” which concerned Ottoman Jews directly, into French.
Galanti Efendi was invited to USA to organize Safarad Jews who settled to USA but he did not go. When German teachers were discharged from their positions in 1918 he replaced Bergstrasser being assigned to his chair as an academic member, first with the title of “teacher” and later “lecturer” in order to teach “Tarih-i akvam-ı kadime-i şarkıyye”. He did not internalize the Zionist though which started in Europe during these years and which aimed to establish an independent Jewish state, but he leant towards the establishment of a national state in Palestine under the rule of chief rabbi Haim Nahum and under the rule and administration of Ottomans. When he noticed that some Jews were among the minorities who requested the protection of allied forces after the Treaty of Mondros (30 October 1918), he articulated the loyalty of Jewish people to the Ottoman Empire in newspapers. In the years of National Struggle he translated daily press bulletins in foreign languages into Turkish and submitted them to Mustafa Kemal and his friends. After the declaration of the republic he wrote books and articles against the revolution of alphabet basing on various linguistic sorrows. Since he was taken out of the cadre with the 1933 university reform, his professorship ended. When the act of surname was introduced in 1934 he took the surname Bodrumlu. In 1943 he was elected as a Parliament Member from Niğde. In this period he published “Ankara Tarihi” (I-II, Istanbul 1950-1951) and “Niğde ve Bor Tarihi” using the archive of Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
His parliament membership ended after the elections of 1946 and he returned from Ankara to Istanbul and settled to Kınalıada. After a long period of sickness he died on the 8th of August 1961. He was inhumed to Arnavutköy Jewish Cemetery. Aside from his Turkish works he also has some French works.
LANGUAGE: Küçük Türk Tetebbular (1925), Türkçede Arabî ve Latin Harfleri ve İmlâ Meseleleri (1925), Arabî Harfleri Terakkimize Mâni Değildir (1927), Vatandaş Türkçe Konuş Yahut Türkçenin Tâmimi Meselesi (1928).
HISTORY: Hammurabi Kanunu (1925), Hitit Kanunu (1931), Asur Kanunu (1933).
MONOGRAPHY: Bodrum Tarihi (1945), Bodrum Tarihine Ek, Ankara Tarihi (1950), Niğde ve Bor Tarihi (1951).
RESEARCH-ANALYSIS: Türk - Müslüman ve Yahudi İlişkileri: Üç Sâmî Vâzı-ı Kânûn: Hamurabi - Mûsâ - Muhammed (1927), Türkler ve Yahudiler (1927, 1995), Fâtih Sultan Mehmed Zamanında İstanbul Yahudileri (1945), Türk Harsı ve Türk Yahudisi (1953), Türkler ve Yahudiler Eserlerine Ek (İstanbul 1954), Türklük İncelemeleri (2005).
FRENCH: Don Joseph Nassi, Duc de Naxos (1913), Esther Kyra (1926), Documents officiels turcs concernant les juifs de Turquie (1931-1954), Nouveau documents sur Sabbetai Sevi (1935), Histoire des juifs d'Anatolie (1937- 1939, appendix 1948), Histoire des juifs d'Istanbul (1-11, 1941-1942). His French works were republished as a corpus in nine volumes as a facsimile under the title Histoire des juifs de Turquie (1985-1986).
REFERENCE: Rıfat N. Bali / TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi (c. 13, s. 296-297, İstanbul 1996), Arslan Tekin / Edebiyatımızda İsimler ve Terimler (2. bas. 1999), Üç Sami Kanun Koyucusu (Kitap Rehberi, Kasım 2002), İhsan Işık / Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) - Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).