Turkey: Writer of national anthem commemorated

University in capital Ankara holds panel to discuss Mehmet Akif Ersoy and his role in fostering spirit of independence

Ali Murat Alhas   | 20.12.2019
Turkey: Writer of national anthem commemorated


A panel on Friday paid tribute to Mehmet Akif Ersoy, the writer of the lyrics of Turkey’s national anthem adopted in 1921 by the Turkish parliament, two years before the republic itself. 

The panel – co-organized by Social Sciences University of Ankara (ASBU) in the Turkish capital and Sebilurresad magazine -- started after the participants – including former ministers, lawmakers, and a mayor – observed a minute of silence for Ersoy, who is also known in Turkey as the “nation's poet.”

Selma Ersoy Argon – the poet’s granddaughter – also delivered remarks to the panel, telling about his hard life and how he helped foster Turkey’s spirit of independence.

Mehmet Barca, the university rector, said people often argue whether art should be for art’s sake or people’s sake, but Ersoy had a firm answer to this.

"Mehmet Akif Ersoy, with everything he did, was part of the school that views art for people's sake; what defines his works is that they revolved around ideas," he said.

Barca went on to say that Ersoy's artwork did not glorify any era but called on common people to discuss the creation of an alternative society.

Ersoy is remembered by the Turkish nation not only every time they sing the national anthem but also through his rich legacy of poetry and memoirs.

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