Hypodermic Needle Theory Istanbul Pogrom 6–7 September 1955

  • According to “hypodermic needle theory”, mass media had a direct, immediate and powerful effect on its audiences.
  •  The mass media could influence a very large group of people directly and uniformly by ‘injecting’ them with appropriate messages designed to trigger a desired response.
  • There is powerful and direct flow of information from the sender to the receiver.
  • The hypodermic needle model suggests that media messages are injected straight into a passive audience which is immediately influenced by the message.
  • The receiver or audience is powerless to resist the impact of the message. There is no escape from the effect of the message in these models.


Istanbul Pogrom  was a  pogrom directed primarily at Istanbul’s Greek minority on 6–7 September 1955.  The events were triggered by the false news that the Turkish consulate inThessaloniki, north Greece—the house where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had been born in 1881—had been bombed the day before. A bomb planted by a Turkish usher at the consulate, who was later arrested and confessed, incited the events. The Turkish press conveying the news in Turkey was silent about the arrest and instead insinuated that Greeks had set off the bomb.


A protest rally on the night of September 6, organized by the authorities in Istanbul, on the Cyprus issue and the bombing of Atatürk’s home was the cover for amassing the rioters. At 13:00, news reports of the bombing were announced by radio However, most people at the time did not have radios, so they had to wait until 16:30, when the daily İstanbul Ekspres, which was associated with the Demokrat Parti National Security Service(NSS), repeated the news in print.İstanbul Ekspres  printed 300,000 copies (on paper stocked in advance), of which 296,000 were sold. This was far above the newspaper’s average circulation of 30,000–40,000 (by comparison, the best-selling Hürriyet sold 70–80 thousand copies.

At 17:00, the pogrom started in Taksim Square, and rippled out during the evening through the old suburb of Beyoglu  (Pera), with smashing and looting of Greek commercial property, particularly along Yüksek Kaldırım street. By six o’clock at night, many of the Greek shops on Istanbul’s main shopping street, İstiklal Avenue  were ransacked. The material damage was considerable, with damage to 5317 properties, almost all Greek-owned. Among these were 4214 homes, 1004 businesses, 73 churches, 2 monasteries, 1 synagogue, and 26 schools. Over 4,000 Greek-owned businesses, 110 hotels, 27 pharmacies, 23 schools, 21 factories, 73 Greek (and other Christian) churches and over a thousand Greek-owned homes were badly damaged or destroyed.The American consulate estimates that 59% of the businesses were Greek-owned, 17% were Armenian-owned, 12% were Jewish-owned, 10% were Muslim-owned; while 80% of the homes were Greek-owned, 9% were Armenian-owned, 3% were Jewish-owned, and 5% were Muslim-owned