| News Front Page |

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fountains and Water Foundations

Fountains were made to provide water for both drinking and cleaning. Water was transported by pipes from water sources and tanks to the fountains. Besides the fountains in the streets, it is also very common to find fountains in gaerdens and yards. The architecture of the fountains was originally very plain, but it developed during the 18th century. After this period, the fountains were decorated with rich motifs and became elaborate and monumental constructions.
There were also public fountains providing only drinking water. They consisted of small rooms with domed ceilings and open fronts, whose windows were covered by gratings. They were usually built as part of an annex, or near a mosque.
Located in Sultanahmet Square, across from the mausoleum of Sultan Ahmed I, the German Fountain was constructed to commemorate the second anniversary of visit to Istanbul by the German Emperor Wilhelm II. in 1898. It was transported in its present site in 1900. The octagonal dome which houses the fountain is buttressed by eight marble columns. The dome's interior is covered with mosaic. Its unique design makes the German Fountain a "must-see" in Sultanahmet Square.

Altough the exact date of its construction has been lost in history, the Valens Aqueduct, also known as the Hadrianus Aqueduct, is a legacy of the Late Roman and Early Byzantine era. Over the centuries, the structure fell into disrepair and eventually to ruins, until the conquest of the city, when it was restored in order to deploy its original function: namely, to distribute water in periods of regional shortage.
It is believed that when first constructed, the aqueduct was more than 1 kilometer in lenght. Over the years, additions have been made, although the point at which the structure was given its Turkish name "Bozdogan" is unknown.
Today, the preponderance of the once sprawling aqueduct has largely been destroyed, with the notable exception of the remains found on the Sarachane Ataturk Boulevard. In 1988, the Municipality of Istanbul decided to restore this piece of history, which also bears witness to Ottoman design. Being the oldest aqueduct in Istanbul, Valens has served the city for more than 15 centuries as its most important water source.
The Haghia Sophia Mosque has two fountains within its perimeters: one at the courtyard entrance; the other just beyond the courtyard wall. The latter is made of marble and has four windows. The fountain just adjacent to the entrance is also marble and is enclosed.
Located on the street side of the Sultan Mahmud II mausoleum on Divanyolu Street in Çemberlitas, the Public Fountain was built with the mausoleum in 1840. The fountain, covered by marble with a domed ceiling. was designed in a classical style and resembles a kind of round antique temple. The iron gratings and the sign on top of the dome are especially interesting.
Located at the intersection of Pashalimani Street and Hakimiyetimilliye Street in Iskele Square in Uskudar, this fountain was built next to the sea in 1729, but later on was moved to its present location.
The fountain looks like a monument. The walls and eaves of the roof were decorated with wooden engravings, and, inscribed on the walls, is some poetry from the famous Divan poets.

It is located to the right side of the Ayasofya Mosque and in front of the Padisah Gate of Topkapi Palace. The strikingly constructed fountain was built in 1729, and is a fine example of Turkish rococo architecture. It is square in shape with an overhanging roof made of lead. A fountain is found in each of the four corners. The lead dome is topped by five small domes and the entire structure is richly decorated with floral designs, ornate inscriptions and beautiful examples of callgraphy written in gold letters. The windows are enclosed with ornate marble grilles.
Located in Tophane, in the square next to the Kilic Ali Pasha Mosque, the Tophane Fountain was built in 1732 by the architect Mehmet Aga during the reign of Sultan Mahmud I.
It is the tallest fountain in Istanbul, and with its ornaments on the walls, the inscription which covers all four walls, and the engraved eaves it makes a rare monument.

Traditional Cuisine

As a synthesis of east and west, the culture of Istanbul is reflected very much in its culinary tradition. A rich and diverse blend of cultural influences accumulated over the years, the cuisine of Istanbul offers visitors a sumptuous spread of the very best traditional Turkish dishes.
The range of ingredients used is similarly vast, with recipes incorporating every kind of meat, fish, vegetable, and fruit, besides a myriad of spices. Dishes based on seafood, beef, lamb, goat, chicken, goose, duck, rabbit, and various fowl; casseroles combining meat and vegetables; cold vegetable dishes cooked in olive oil; stuffed vegetables; salads; fruit compotes and drinks; milk puddings and pastries: these are just a few examples of what Istanbul cuisine has to offer.
Whether a confirmed meat eater, a seafood fan, or a vegetarian, diet-conscious or a stickler for spicy food, you are certain to find a host of dishes to your liking in Istanbul.
Ottoman desserts and sweets are concocted from an unusual and surprising range of ingredients, unlike anything you've tasted elsewhere in the world. Puddings made from chicken breast, puddings made with pulses and dried fruits, compotes, marzipan "pillows" filled with rose water scented raisins, baked pastry mixtures or hazlenuts and angel hair pasta in butter and sugar syrups, deep ruby red candied quince, candied butternut squash (a denser pumpkin), rose petals in cream, sherbet, and of course the elastic and pliable ice creams, which street vendors still render in acrobatic feats of juggling. Many deserts are served with a cream so thick it can be cut with a knife.
Halva has several flavors, is mixed with walnuts, peanuts and pistachios, and also comes in different varieties. Irmik Helvasi, for example, is a delicious semolina and pine nut puddling. Turkish delight, or lokum, comes in dozens of varieties and color combinations, and may be flavored with chocolate, cinnamon, pistachio nuts, sesame needs - in fact such a variety that you need to see it to believe it, so go to the Misir Çarsisi, the old Egyptian Spice Market and see for yourself. The Turkish Delight of Haci Bekir has become legendary over the 200 years since he opened his confectionary in 1777, which is still open to this day. He also produced akide sekeri, a multi-colored candy which the janissary soldiers presented in the Grand Vizier if satisfied with their pay.
The restaurant first opened for service in 1992 and offers specialities such as kavun dolmasi (stuffed melon), saray usulu pirinç (rice, palace style) and kivde. All credit cards are accepted.
Opening first in 1927, the restaurant now operates through three different branches. Specialities include Hunkarbegendili kebap (pureed aubergine with lamb), kuzu tandir (lamb cooked tandoori-style) and sebzeli kebap (meat and vegetable kebap). Credit cards are accepted.
The building that houses the restaurant was used in Ottoman times as a kitchen for the poor within the Süleymaniye Mosque Complex. In 1992 the building was restored and began functioning once more as a restaurant. Specialities include Suleymaniye Çorbasi (Suleymaniye soup), Daruzziyafe Köftesi (Daruzziyafe meat balls) and Fukara Keskulu (milk pudding with almonds). Credit cards are accepted.
Haci Abdullah is one of the few surviving restaurants in Istanbul which serves traditional Ottoman cuisine. Deserving particular mention are Hunkarbegendi (pureed aubergines with lamb); Elbasan tava; Manisa kebabi; kuzu incikli patlican (aubergines with lamb); kuzu tandir (lamb cooked tandoori-style); kuzu dolmasi (stuffed lamb); and kuzu incik baglama (lamb 'olives' stuffed with aubergine and tomatoes). Haci Abdullah is famous for its fruit compotes, but also makes an excellent baked quince and dessert of bananas, cream and honey. Credit cards are accepted.
A good selection of traditional Turkish foods are to be found at this family-run restaurant, which was established in 1942. Credit cards are not accepted.
The menu at Kanaat, which opened in 1880's, features 80 different dishes. Notable among these are the Ozbek pilavi (Uzbek pilau) and assortment of guvec (claypot casseroles). Credit cards are not accepted.
Established in 1897, the restaurant has five branches in Istanbul. Most traditional Turkish dishes are on offer, while specialities include Borek (savoury pastries), Avci kebabi (lamb and vegetable kebab), Portakalli (orange) baklava and Etli ekmek (meat-topped Anatolian pizza). Credit cards are accepted.
Established in 1901, the restaurant is located above the main south-facing entrance to the Spice Bazaar. Main sources to be recommended include Levrek kagitta (baked sea bass) and Begendili kebab (mixed vegetable and lamb kebap), while on the dessert menu the following are particularly worth trying: Sariburma; Visne ekmegi (chery bread soaked in syrup); Kazandibi (baked milk pudding ); Gullac (milk pudding with rose water and walnuts); Tulumba (deep fried pastry in thich syrup); and Kurabiye (sweet bicuits).
As its name suggests, the resturant's chief speciality is Sultanahmet koftesi (Sultanahmet meat balls), a dish highly prized but rarely found in Istanbul. Credit cards are accepted.

Before going to Istanbul

At the time of writing the citizens of the following countries need to obtation visas at the airport upun arrival hall. Visas are paid in foreign currency as follows.
Britain £10.
U.S.A. US$ 20.
Austria 150 Shillings.
Spain US$ 10.
Italy US$ 5.
Russia US$ 10.

AUSTRALIA Suite 101, 280 George Street Sydney NSW 2000 AUSTRALIA, (61-2) 223 30 55 (61-2) 223 32 04
AUSTRIA Singer Strasse 2/81010 Wien, AUSTRIA (43-1) 512 2128-29 (43-1) 513 83 26
BELGIUM Rue Montayer 4,1040 Bruxelles, Belgium (32-2) 513 82 30-502 26 Z 1 (32-2) 51179 51
CANADA 360 Albert Street, Suite 801 Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 7Xï CANADA (613) 230 86 54 .613) 230 36 83
DENMARK Vesterbrogade I1 A,1620 Copenhagen VENMARK (45-31) 22 31 DO-2.3 83 74 (45-31) 22 90 68
ENGLAND First Floor, 170-173 Piccadilly London WI V 9DD- ENGLAND(44-71) 355 42 07 (44-71) .19107 73
FINLAND Mikonkatu 6 C 18, 00100, Helsinki, Finland (35-80) 66 60 44 - 66 60 55 (35-80) 66 60 61
FRANCE 102, avenue des Champs-Ely,sees, 75008 Paris, FRANCE (33-1) 4562 2610-4562 2611 (33-1) 4563 8105
GERMANY Tauentzien Str. 7,10789 Berlin, GERMANY (49-30) 214 37 52 (49-30) 214 39 52 Baseler Strasse 37, 60329 Frankfurt-Main, GERMANY (49-69) 23 30 81-23 30 82 (49-69) 23 27 51 Karlsplatz 3/1, 80335 München, GERMANY (49-89) 59 49 02-59 4317 (49-89) 550 4138
ISRAIL Ben Yehuda, 63801, Tel-Aviv, ISRAEL (972 3) 517 6157-51717 31 ( 972-3) 517 63 03-605 4I 56
ITALY Piazza Della Repubblica 56, 00185 Roma-ITALY (39-6) 48713 93 ß9-6) 488 24 25
JAPAN 233-6 Jingumae Shibuya-Ku Tokyo, JAPAN (81-3) 3470 63 80 (81-3) 3470 60 37
KUWAIT PO. Box 15518 DE,EYAH, 35456 KUWAfT (965) 242 42 48 (965) 242 42 98
SINGAPORE 20-B Nassim Road, Singapore, 1025 SINGAPORE (65) 732 97 02-ï32 85 71 (65) 732 80 32
SPAIN Pza, de Espana, Torre de Madrid, l.3-3 Madrid,SPAIN (34-1) 559 70 14-559 71 14 (34-I) 547 62 87
SWEDEN Kungsgatan 3 S-111 43 Stockholm, S.'EDEN (46-81679 83 20-679 83 21 (46-8) 611 38 28
SWITZERLAND Talsırasse 74, 8001 Zürich, 5.'l'lTZERLAND (41-1) 221 08 10-221 08 1Z (41-1) 212 17 49
THE NEDERLANDS Herengrancht 451, 1017 BS Amsterdam, THE NETHERLANDS (31-20) 626 68 10-624 40 06 (31-20 ) 622 22 83
USA 821, United Nations Plaza, New Ynrk N.Y l U017, l.SA 1(21216R7 21 94-5-6 1(212) 599 75 68 1 î 17 Massachusetts A.,enue N.V.' Suite 306, \'..Washington D.C.20036, USA (1-?02) 429 98 44 (1-202) 429 56 49

Turkish Airlines THY run competitive flights to Istanbul from all over the world, alongside the major national carriers, though in some cases from other continents it may prove worthwhile to take a cheaper flight into Europe and to take a connecting flight from there. From northern Europe, the distance, the steady rise in popularity of Turkey as a tourist destination, and the visa restrictions of Bulgaria and Romania combine to make travel by air often the cheapest, and by far the most convenient, direct route to Istanbul. Those with an eye on their budget should scan newspapers and travel agents for huge discounts and charter flights, especially, but not only, during the tourist seasons, and will probably find the effort very well rewarded. It should be noted that a cheap charter (flight to Greece is a false economy for anything more than a daily trip as the return flight becomes invalid after only a single night's stay in Turkey owing to Greek subsidy regulations). On arrival at lstanbul Ataturk Airport there is a rapidly improving bus service (HAVAS) to take you through Aksaray to Taksim. Also, you may always use your attentive taxi driver, which is not too expensive either.

By comparison, travel by land is strictly for those coming from closer, or with places to go en route. By bus, though, for longer distances it's only the sight rather than the feel of the places that's on offer as the journey can't usually be broken and rejoined, and interminable border crossings and transit visas only reinforce the feelings that your holiday would be best spent in Istanbul itself rather than on the way, there.

By car there are likely to be similar border concerns, and visas should be looked into well in advance of crossing the Balkans. The most attractive route is to park your car on a boat in Venice for a more relaxed Mediterranean voyage to Izmir, where you'll be able to compare the Italian style of driving with the Turkish as you head up the Aegean coast to Istanbul. For entry into Turkey, an international driving licence and insurance are necessary, and for tax purposes the same car must be with you when you leave.

By rail, too, you can normally arrange to break your journey and explore the lands you are crossing, but with flying a cheaper alternative, then unless you have a specific destination en route, train travel should only be considered by those with a deep fear of both flying and buses. For the incurably romantic with plenty of money and little sense of direction there is always the Orient Express, but unfortunately it no longer goes as far as Istanbul and you'll have to make your own way from Venice.
The scope of this guide stops at saluting and wishing well the bold and energetic few who are already convinced to undertake the journey by bycycle...
The Orient Express
Inaugurated in 1883 by a French railway company the Orient Express soon became the stuff legends are made of. Originally travelling from Paris through Munich, Vienna and Sophia to the Slrkeci station of Istanbul, passengers could continue the journey, travelling by, boat across the bosphorus to the Haydarpasa Railway Station to join the Taurus Express to Anatolia. Although the route varied throughout the years it ran from Paris to Istanbul, a distance of 3186 kilometers. A monument to the hedonistic days of the late l9th and early 20th century it was the most luxurious long distance rail journey in the history of travel. Royalty; aristocracy; the rich and the famous travelled regularly on the orient express. Its passenger list read like a volume of "who's who". Gourmet chefs, chandeliers, fully equipped bathrooms, staterooms and dining rooms on par with the Ritz were all part of the train. It takes on a myth like quality in our current times of `functional' travel. Woven into the plot af many books, it is remembered today mainly through Agatha Christie's book (and later a film) "Murder on the Orient Express"
The Orient Express slowly declined in the 1930s with the Simplon Orient Express and the Arlberg Orient Express partially replacing it. ln the 1980s the Orient Express was re-introduced by enterpreuneurs running from Paris to Vienna (1390km) and from Stuttgart to Prague(1253km). The "Orient Express" surely being a misnomer for these routes.. Unfortunately in the 1990s we are more interested in the speed we can reach our destination rather than the journey itself. The days of opulent train travel are long gone but the mere mention of the name Orient Express still evoke visions of past glories.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Landscapes from My Country6), a sprawling, episodic verse saga of the twentieth century, composed in 17,000 lines, is often touted as his magnum opus. His real masterpiece might well be Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı (The Epic of Sheik Bedreddin7), published in 1936. A moving account of the rise and fall of a heretical sect that preached an incipient form of communism in the early fifteenth century, it contains some of the most poignant poetic narrative passages ever written in the Turkish language.
At his best, Nazım Hikmet has been compared by Turkish and non-Turkish men of letters to such figures as Lorca, Aragon, Esenin, Mayakovski, Neruda, and Artaud. No other Turkish poet has been translated into more languages nor enjoyed greater acclaim in so many countries. Tristan Tzara, who translated some of Nazım Hikmet’s poems into French, paid the following tribute: “The life Nazım led engulfs the experiences of a large segment of mankind. His poetry exalts the aspirations of the Turkish people as well as articulates the common ideals of all nations in humanistic terms.”
Nazım Hikmet’s innovations, although they struck a responsive chord in poetic tastes throughout his life and after his death, by no means established a monopoly. Most of his contemporaries pursued different courses: Necip Fazıl Kısakürek wallowed in the anguish of his own soul; Faruk Nafiz Çamlıbel combined neoclassicism with urbanized versions of folk verse; Ahmet Muhip Dıranas, Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar, and Ahmet Kutsi Tecer specialized in simple lyrics of genteel sensibilities expressed in tidy stanzaic forms and the traditional syllabic meters.
Asaf Hâlet Çelebi (1907–1958) introduced his own iconoclasm in surrealistic poems that gave the impression of somnambulistic writing with intimations of erudition. “A poem,” he declared, “is nothing but a long word made up of syllables joined together. Syllables by themselves have no meaning. It is therefore futile to struggle with meaning in a poem. . . . Poetry creates an abstract world using concrete materials—just like life itself.”
These theories and movements continued to exert varying degrees of influence on the literature of the later decades, but the
themes and the tenor of Nazım Hikmet’s verse probably wielded
the widest impact. Effective voices have been raised among poets,
dramatists, fiction writers, essayists, and journalists against the
established order and its iniquities, oppression of the proletariat,
and national humiliation suffered at imperialist hands. The
poetry of social realism concentrates on the creation of a just
and equitable society. It is often more romantic and utopian
than rhetorical, with sensual strains, tender sentiments, flowing
rhythms, but occasionally given to invective and vituperation.
The early novels of the Republic depicted the disintegration of
Ottoman society, ferocious political enmities, and the immoral
lives of religious sects, as well as the conflicts between urban
intellectuals and poverty-stricken peasants—as in the novels
of Yakup Kadri Karaosmanoğlu (1889–1974). Turkey’s major
woman intellectual and advocate of women’s rights, Halide Edib
Adıvar (1882–1964), produced sagas of the War of Independence,
psychological novels, and panoramas of city life. Her novelistic art
culminated in Sinekli Bakkal (1936), which she originally published
in English under the title of The Clown and His Daughter.8
The harsh realities of Anatolia found fertile ground in
the literature of engagement after World War II. Sabahattin
Ali (1907–1948) was a pioneer of forceful fiction about the
peasant’s trials and tribulations. Two books, both published in
1950, Bizim Köy (Our Village) by Mahmut Makal (b. 1930) and
Toprak Ana (Mother Earth) by Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca (b. 1914),
exerted a shattering impact on political and intellectual circles by
dramatically exposing conditions in villages. The first, available
in English translation,9 is a series of vignettes written by Makal,
a teenage peasant who became a village teacher after graduating
from one of the controversial Institutes for Village Teachers. The
book reveals the abject poverty of the Anatolian village:
Quite apart from the trouble of earning the wretched stuff, it’s
difficult even to make bread here in any edible form. . . . The women
rise at night, knead the dough, and while their husbands are still in
bed—that is to say, before dawn—they bake enough for the day. If they get up a bit late, they get no end of a beating from their
husbands, and everyone calls them “slatterns”. . . . If you want to
know what the torments of Hell are like, I’d say it’s baking bread in
this village.
Not five per cent of the women in our village wear shoes. All the
rest go barefoot. Even in winter they do the same, in the snow and
the mud and the wet. The girls all go barefoot. . . . And in summer
these same feet go off to the cornfields to plough, all cracked and cut
with stones.
In Toprak Ana, Dağlarca gave poetic expression to the same
tragic deprivations, as in the poem entitled “Village without
I’m hungry, black earth, hungry, hear me.
With the black ox I’m hungry tonight.
He thinks, and thinking feeds him,
I think, and thinking makes my hunger grow.
I’m hungry, black earth, hungry, hear me.
One can’t hide it when he’s hungry.
The wind sleeps on the hills of gluttony
In the sleep of bird and beast.
When the fat stars glide,
Darkness get fed.
The wind sleeps on the hills of gluttony.
One can’t sleep it off when he’s hungry.
Hunger is black on our faces, hunger is hoary.
Meadows and hills hunger.
Rain falls no more and the crops are scorched.
How did we anger the skies far and wide?
Hunger is black on our faces, hunger is hoary.
One can’t live on it when he’s hungry.
In the mid-1950s a brave new genre emerged—the “Village
Novel,” which reached its apogee with Yaşar Kemal’s İnce
Memed.10 Yaşar Kemal (b. 1922), the most famous Turkish
novelist at home and abroad has been frequently mentioned, not

only in Turkey but also in the world press and literary circles, as
a strong candidate for the Nobel Prize. His impressive corpus of
fiction, written in a lithe, virtually poetic style, ranks as one of the
truly stirring achievements in the history of Turkish literature.
Dealing with the merciless reality of poverty, village literature
portrays the peasant threatened by natural disaster and man’s
inhumanity. The drama is enacted in terms of economic and
psychological deprivation, blood feuds, stagnation and starvation,
droughts, the tyranny of the gendarmes and petty officials, and
exploitation at the hands of landowners and politicos. The style
is predominantly lyrical and dialogues record local dialects with
an almost flawless accuracy. A pessimistic tone pervades much of
village literature: its delineations are bleak even when occasional
flashes of humor or a glimmer of hope or descriptions of nature’s
beauty appear. A great strength of the genre has been its freedom
from the rhetoric that has marred much of the poetry of social
protest. When presenting deprived men and women pitted
against hostile forces, the best practitioners offer an affirmation
of the human spirit. Their works are often testaments to the
dauntless determination of the peasant to survive and to resist—
sometimes through rebellion—the forces of oppression.
A growing body of fiction about the urban poor shares
the strengths of the Village Novel—engrossing plot, effective
narration, realistic dialogue, and so on—but, like much of the
literature of socialist realism throughout the world, both types
suffer from lack of psychological depth and subtlety.
Satirical fiction is dominated by Aziz Nesin (1916–1995),
Turkey’s best satirist ever. In more than eighty works, Nesin
provided a strong indictment of the oppression and brutalization
of the common man. His hero is the man in the street beleaguered
by the inimical forces of modern life. He lambasts bureaucracy
and exposes economic inequities in stories that effectively
combine local color and universal verities. Sait Faik (1906–1954)
is admired for his meditative, rambling romantic fiction, full of
intriguing insights into the human soul, capturing the pathos
and the bathos of urban life in a style unique for its poetic, yet colloquial, flair.
An awakening of interest in Ottoman history, after several decades of neglect, gave rise to a massive semidocumentary novel by Kemal Tahir (1910–1973), Devlet Ana (Mother State), a saga of the emergence of the Ottoman state in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries, and several excellent works of drama by A. Turan Oflazoğlu, Orhan Asena, and others. The Turkish War of Independence has continued to fire novelists’ imaginations since the 1920s.
In sharp contrast to realist fiction, a group of authors, some well versed in English and French, produced stream-of-consciousness fiction heavily influenced by Joyce and Faulkner as well as by the French nouveau roman. Their works depict psychological crises in lyrical, and sometimes turgid, styles. Some of them offer tragicomic scenes of modern life by means of a decomposed language. The principal themes of modern fiction all over the world also characterize the Turkish nouvelle vague: dehumanization, moral disintegration, absurdity, lack of heroism, ennui, futility, hypocrisy. The protagonists are often abstractions of psychic turmoil, and phenomena are presented in terms of transmogrification.
A frontal thrust for modernization took place in the early 1940s when Orhan Veli Kanık (1914–1950), Oktay Rifat (1914–1988), and Melih Cevdet Anday (1915–2002) launched their “Poetic Realism” movement. Their urge for literary upheaval was revolutionary, as expressed in a joint manifesto of 1941 that called for “altering the whole structure from the foundation up . . . dumping overboard everything that traditional literature has taught us.” The movement did away with rigid conventional forms and meters, reduced rhyme to a bare minimum, avoided stock metaphors, stentorian effects, specious embellishments. It championed the idea and the ideal of “the little man” as its hero, the ordinary citizen who asserted his political will with the advent of democracy. Kanık’s “Epitaph” is precisely this type of celebration:
He suffered from nothing in the world
The way he suffered from his corns;
He didn’t even feel so badly
About having been created ugly.
Though he wouldn’t utter the Lord’s name
Unless his shoe pinched,
He couldn’t be considered a sinner either.
It’s a pity Süleyman Efendi had to die.
The Garip (Strange) Group, as the Kanık–Rifat–Anday triad is referred to, endeavored to write not only about the common man, but also for him. In order to communicate with him, they employed the rhythms and idioms of colloquial speech, including slang. With their movement, the domination of free verse, introduced in the 1920s by Nazım Hikmet, became complete. They proclaimed with pride: “Every moment in the history of literature imposed a new limitation. It has become our duty to expand the frontiers to their outer limits, better still, to liberate poetry from its restrictions.” Many of Kanık’s poems are frequently quoted by Turks, a favorite one being the three-line poem entitled “For the Homeland”:
All the things we did for our country!
Some of us died;
Some of us gave speeches.
In the late 1950s a strong reaction set in against Poetic Realism. Literature of commitment came under fire in some circles. This is reflected in “Poetry Lesson” by Salâh Birsel (1919–1999):
Take “Love for Mankind” as your topic
And free verse as prosody.
Relevant or not,
Whenever it occurs to you,
Insert the word “Hunger”
At a convenient spot.
Near the end of the poem
Rhyme “strife” with “the right to good life.”
There—that’s the way to become A Great Poet.
Getting away from the easy intelligibility and the surface simplicities of the poetic realists, a group of younger poets proudly championed obscurantism and “meaningless poetry.” Soon, Oktay Rifat and Melih Cevdet Anday also departed from their earlier convictions and commitments: the former took up neo-surrealism and the latter the poetry of intellectual complexity.
A new generation had initiated obscurantism, continuing from where Asaf Hâlet Çelebi’s surrealism had left off in the 1940s. İlhan Berk, perhaps Turkey’s most daring and durable poetic innovator, who acted as spokesman for the group (often identified as İkinci Yeni, “The Second New”), pontificated: “Art is for innovation’s sake.” Turgut Uyar’s line “on the shore of all possibilities” summed up the autistic aspect of this new esoteric poetry, which was marked by such wild thrusts of imagination and distortion of language that some critics denounced it as “word salad.” “Vanish,” by Edip Cansever (1928–1986), is one of the prime examples:
I reiterate: your face is a laughter
Glance and an armada of life marches into light
A flower that hails from subterranean regions
An eagle gone stark-naked
Now pink is pursued by three persons
Upward along your shoulder
Drive them insane in your hair
Carnation multiple
Carnation shrinking shrunk
Most beauty arises in your most secret places
Lovely as animals suddenly born
Glance and I deliver a poem to the world
A poem is made: red round wide
Widest reddest on planes oppressed
A secret is now pursued by three persons
Inward along your eyes
Inward along your eyes
Drive them insane in my lines
Carnation divided
Carnation multiplied multiple
Know your hands in circles of hope
Hands are gaped at holding the void in balance
An extension from hope to man
A plane muddled known only to sight
Love is close while forging day out of night
Now love is chased
By three international persons
Drive them insane in infinity
A tea has many a name
A table many a round
Ornaments rotten animals ramcrossed
They all compel us to stare
Now a light is arrested
By three persons dressed in white
Drive them insane in the void
A window too narrow
A window vanishing vanished . . .
This type of self-serving aestheticism represents a “supreme
fiction” at its best and sterile confusion at its worst. A leading
critic, Rauf Mutluay, deplored its egocentricity and narcissism as
“the individualistic crisis and this deaf solitude of our poetry.” The language is usually lavish, the poetic vision full of inscapes
and instresses, ambiguity strives to present itself as virtuosity,
metaphors are often strikingly original, but sometimes run amuck. Euphuistic and elliptical writing is a frequent fault committed by
the practitioners of abstract verse. The best specimens, however,
have an architectonic splendor, rich imagination, and human
In obscurantism, the critic Memet Fuat found the malaise of
the age, calling it “the critique of the time we live in—the poems
of individuals who are oppressed, depressed, and shoved into
nothingness.” As a principle of the new aesthetics, the poet Edip
Cansever called for the “death of the poetic line,” whose integrity
had been accepted as a fundamental artistic value for generations
of Turkish poets: “The function of the poetic line is finished.” Extending this statement to the self-imposed isolation of the
obscurantists, Mutluay speculated that “perhaps the function of
poetry is finished.”
In sharp contrast, village poets, standing media vitae, continue
to serve their rural communities by providing enlightenment as
well as live entertainment. The minstrel tradition, with all its
stanzaic forms and simple prosody, is alive and well. Particularly
since the 1950s, many prominent folk poets have moved to, or
made occasional appearances in, the urban areas. Âşık Veysel
(1894–1973), a blind minstrel, produced the most poignant
specimens of the oral tradition.
I walk on a road long and narrow:
Night and day, on and on I go.
Where am I heading? I don’t know:
Night and day, on and on I go.
Even in sleep I must forge ahead:
No rest for the weary, no warm bed;
Fate has doomed me to the roads I dread.
Night and day, on and on I go.
Who can tell why my life went awry?
Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry.
Craving a caravanserai,
Night and day, on and on I go.
The forms and values of classical poetry, too, were kept alive by
a group of highly accomplished formalists who clustered mainly
around the monthly Hisar, which ceased publishing in 1980 after thirty years.
Among the daring, and quite impressive, explorations into Turkey’s own literary heritage have been those undertaken by Turgut Uyar, İlhan Berk, and Attilâ İlhan. Although these three major figures are highly individualistic and their works drastically different from one another, they have all acknowledged the need for coming to terms with the viable and the valuable aspects of the Ottoman-Turkish elite poetry. They have used, not its stringent forms and prosody, but its processes of abstracting and its metaphorical techniques. İlhan Berk’s aesthetics has occasionally striven to forge a synthesis of Oriental tradition and Western modernity. In his Şenlikname (The Festival Book, 1972), for instance, he conveys through visual evocations, old miniatures, engravings, and subtle sonorities the vista of Ottoman life and art; yet the poetic vision, throughout the book, is that of a modern man, neutral rather than conditioned by his culture, in a sense more European than Turkish. Attilâ İlhan, Turkey’s most successful neo-romantic poet, also a major novelist and essayist, has attempted to recapture the milieu and the moods prevailing during the slow death of the Ottoman Empire.
Standing outside of all groups and movements is Behçet Necatigil (1916–1979), who produced refined poems of intellectual complexity with verbal capers and a subdued tone. Some of his poems could be described as cubistic. In most of them, he utilized the subtleties of the language more effectively than did his contemporaries. With a natural disdain for stereotypes, he created a private poetic universe of delicate delineations.
After their innovations of the 1950s ground to a halt, both Oktay Rifat and Melih Cevdet Anday abandoned their earlier insistence on simplicity, the vernacular, concrete depiction, epigrammatic statement, and so on, which had been the hallmarks of the Garip Group. Oktay Rifat took up a fertile type of neo-surrealism, proclaiming that “poetry tells or explains nothing, because beauty explains nothing.” Anday’s work moved toward lucid philosophical inquiry: his new aesthetic formula was, in his
own words, “thought or essences serving as a context for arriving at beauty.” His long poems of the 1960s and 1970s (Kolları Bağlı Odysseus [Odysseus Bound], “Horses at the Trojan Gates,” [also published as “Horses before Troy”], Göçebe Denizin Üstünde [On the Nomad Sea11]) sought a synthesis of universal culture, and endeavored to construct superstructures of ideas, myths, and legends. The concern for world affairs was an absorption of many Turkish poets. Their motivation was ideological or humanistic; nonetheless, they commented on international events with telling effect. They poured out elegiac poems for John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Ho Chi Minh, and Salvador Allende, along with indictments of the war in Vietnam, celebrations of man’s conquest of the moon, and moving accounts of the tragedies of Algeria and Cyprus.
The most encompassing poetic achievement of contemporary Turkey belongs to Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca (b. 1914), the winner of the Award of the International Poetry Forum (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and the Yugoslav Golden Wreath (Struga), previously won by W. H. Auden, Pablo Neruda, and Eugenio Montale, and later by Allen Ginsburg et al. His range is bewilderingly broad: metaphysical poetry, children’s verse, cycles about the space age and the quest for the moon, epics of the conquest of Istanbul and of the War of Independence, aphoristic quatrains, neo-mysticism, poetry of social protest, travel impressions, books on the national liberation struggles of several countries, and humorous anecdotes in verse. Dağlarca has published only poetry—about a hundred collections in all. “In the course of a prestigious career,” wrote Yaşar Nabi Nayır, a prominent critic, “which started in 1934, Fazıl Hüsnü Dağlarca has tried every form of poetry, achieving equally impressive success in the epic genre, in lyric and inspirational verse, in satire, and in the poetry of social criticism. Since he has contributed to Turkish literature a unique sensibility, new concepts of substance and form, and an inimitable style, his versatility and originality have been matched by few Turkish literary figures, past or present.” Dağlarca’s tender lyric voice finds its testaments in countless long and short poems:
Clearly death is not a loss.
Regardless the brooks
Will flow.
With faith
Weeds will turn green and roses will grow.
Clearly death is not a loss.
Dağlarca’s protest poetry, however, can often be described as
a verbis ad verbera.
How about it, let’s join our hands.
You hit twice, and I’ll belt two.
Has he stolen
Or sucked the nation’s blood and sweat?
You belt four, and I’ll strike four more.
Twenty sent abroad to buy ships, thirty to select tea . . .
Did the Foreign Minister get a cut,
While our hairless children starve in adobe villages,
And our baby dolls sell their pure flesh night after night?
You hit seven times, and I’ll belt seven more.
How about it, eh, let’s join hands.
Has he sold a plate of beans, 8 cents’ worth for two dollars eighty,
Or did he shake his camel’s head at your petition to squeeze 500 out of you? Elected to Congress did he invest in his own future, trample on progress?
You belt nine, and I’ll belt nine more.
Since the 1980s the art of the novel has taken giant strides
thanks in part to the growing corpus of Yaşar Kemal and to the
impressive work of Adalet Ağaoğlu, Tahsin Yücel, Erhan Bener,
Attilâ İlhan, Erendiz Atasü, Nazlı Eray, et al. In Turkey and
abroad, Orhan Pamuk (b. 1952) has emerged as a compelling
protagonist of new dimensions in the Turkish novelistic art. His major works have been successfully translated into many
languages, the English versions12 attracting wide attention and
winning a number of major international awards.
A most remarkable development in the Turkish arts has been
the explosion of theatrical activity and the strides of dramatic
writing. Very few cities in the world have a broader spectrum
of plays or superior performances presented than Istanbul and
Ankara. Turkish playwrights have turned out a wide repertoire,
including village plays, tragedies in the grand manner,
“boulevard” comedies, vaudevilles, poetic dramas, musical
dramas and comedies, Brechtian “epic” theater, Albee-
like black comedy, modern versions of the traditional
shadow plays, social and political satire, well-made family
melodramas, and dramatizations of mythological themes
and legends.
By the beginning of the third millennium, the
literature of the Turkish Republic could justifiably boast of
a prodigious creative energy and some impressive success
in many genres. It has yet to reach the threshold of
greatness. It is faced with some impediments: these could
be summed up as cultural convulsion (cataclysmic changes
in sociopolitical institutions, faith, and technology);
language crisis (a vast transformation, broader than
the language reform undertaken by any other nation;
vocabulary that consisted of seventy-five percent Arabic,
Persian, and French words in 1920 increased its ratio of
native words to eighty percent and reduced borrowings to
only twenty percent by 1970, and the language functioning at
the turn of the twenty-first century, with less than seventy-
five thousand dictionary entries); critical gap (despite some
fine critical writing, Turkish literature still operates, by and
large, without the guidance of coherent aesthetic theories
and systematic critical analysis); traditional lacunae (the
noticeable absence of philosophy, of the norms of tragedy,
of psychological analysis in depth); and excessive imitation
of models, movements, and major works that have evolved in
the West.
The dynamism, quality, purpose, diversity, and impact
of modern Turkish literature seem impressive. There is a
fertile versatility at work. Turkish literature has never been
more varied nor more inclusive. Following many decades
of conscious experimentation, questing for new values,
acquisition of deeper literary and human insights, and stronger
expertise in blending form and content, Turkish authors
are creating an authentic synthesis of national and universal
Cemal Süreya’s eloquent lines, written in 1966, embody
the revolutionary experience, the disorientation as well as the
optimism and the stirring search of the “New Turkey”:
We are the novices of new life
All our knowledge is transformed
Our poetry, our love all over again
Maybe we are living the last bad days
Maybe we shall live the first good days too
There is something bitter in this air
Between the past and the future
Between suffering and joy
Between anger and forgiveness.
Talat S. Halman is currently Chairman of the Department of
Turkish Liteature and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and
Letters at Bilkent University (Ankara). Formerly he was on the
faculties of Columbia University, Princeton University, University
of Pennsylvania, and served as Professor and Chairman of the
Departman of Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at New
York University.
1. E. J. W. Gibb, A History of Ottoman Poetry, 6 vols. (London: Luzac, 1900-1909; reprinted, Cambridge: Trustees of the “E. J. W. Gibb Memorial,” 1963–1984).
2. The original refers to Bedr, a place near Medina where Muslims won a battle in A.D. 624 led by the Prophet.
3. The poet referred to is Hafız, a major Persian poet of the fourteenth century.
4. The city is identified as Shiraz.
5. A section of Istanbul on the Anatolian side.
6. Published in English translation as Human Landscapes, Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk, trs. (New York: Persea, 1982) and as a complete translation by the same translators in 2002 (Human Landscapes from My Country (New York: Persea).
7. Nazım Hikmet, The Epic of Sheik Bedreddin and Other Poems, Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk, trs. (New York: Persea, 1977).
8. Halide Edib Adıvar, The Clown and His Daughter (London: Allen and Unwin, 1935).
9. Mahmut Makal, A Village in Anatolia, Sir Wyndham Deedes, tr. (London: Vallentine, Mitchell, 1954).
10. This novel has been translated into twenty-five languages; the English translation by Edouard Roditi is entitled Memed, My Hawk (New York: Pantheon, 1961).
11. On the Nomad Sea: Selected Poems of Melih Cevdet Anday, Talat S. Halman, ed. and tr., also includes some translations by Nermin Menemencioğlu (New York: Geronimo, 1974); for more Anday poems, see Rain One Step Away: Poems by Melih Cevdet Anday, Talat S. Halman and Brian Swann, trs.(Washington, DC: The Charioteer Press, 1980).
12. The White Castle, Victoria Holbrook, tr. (New York: Braziller, 1991); The Black Book, Güneli Gün, tr. (New York: Harvest/Harcourt Brace, 1994); The New Life, Güneli Gün, tr. (New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1997); My Name Is Red, Erdağ Göknar, tr. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001), and Snow, Maureen Freely, tr. (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004)


Revolution, innovation, and Westernization have been the driving forces of the Turkish nation in the twentieth century. In the transformation of sociopolitical structure, economic life, and culture, the men of letters have served not only as eloquent advocates of progress, but also as catalysts, precursors, pioneers—and creators of brave new ideas of innovation. Today, as in the past thousand years, Turkish literature seems to bear testimony to Carlyle’s dictum—“The history of a nation’s poetry is the essence of its history: political, scientific, religious”—and to Gustave E. von Grunebaum’s observation that “literature has always been the art of the Muslim world, masterpieces of painting and architecture notwithstanding.”
Poetry, or literature in general, has been the quintessence of Turkish culture until modern times and a most faithful mirror of socioeconomic realities in Turkey since the inauguration of the Republic. Virtually all of the salient aspects of Turkish life, politics, and culture have found their direct or indirect expression in poetry, fiction, and drama, as well as in critical and scholarly writing. The themes and concerns have included nationalism, social justice, search for modernity, Westernization, revival of folk culture, economic and technological progress, human dignity, mysticism, pluralistic society, human rights and fundamental freedoms, democratic ideals, hero-cult, populism, Atatürkism, proletarianism, Turanism, Marxist-Leninist ideology, revival of Islam, humanism—in fact, all aspects and components of contemporary culture.
The function of literature, however, has not been confined to that of a mirror held to society and to intellectual life. The basic genres have not only embodied ideas and ideologies, values and verities, beliefs and aspirations, but have also served as vehicles of criticism, protest, opposition, and resistance. Literature in Turkey is a concomitant and catalyst of change: it strives to achieve self-renewal in aesthetic terms, to give voice to cultural and socioeconomic innovation, to provide impetus to progressive or revolutionary change, and to serve the cause of propaganda fide.
Turkish literature is among the world’s oldest—and youngest—literatures. Its creative tradition, according to the claims of numerous scholars, dates back to before Christ. It is commonly accepted that its legacy of written works spans close to thirteen centuries.
In their long history, the Turks have gone through more changes than most nations, and yet—paradoxical as it may sound—they have preserved most of their basic cultural traits. Throughout the centuries they lived as nomadic tribes, built small and large states in parts of Asia, created the Seljuk state in Asia Minor and later the sprawling Ottoman Empire, which endured from the thirteenth to the early twentieth century, and finally established the modern Republic. At different stages of their history, Turkic communities embraced shamanism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Manichaeanism, Zoroastrianism, and other creeds until most of them accepted the Islamic faith more than a thousand years ago. Their language, one of the world’s most regular in grammar, and most agglutinative, has used five separate scripts: Köktürk, Uyghur, Arabic, Cyrillic, and (since 1928) Latin.
The lyric and epic traditions of the early centuries led to the masterworks of the pre-Ottoman period: Divan ü Lûgat-it-Türk, an encyclopedic compendium of Turkish linguistics and poetry; Kutadgu Bilig, a mirror for princes; and Yunus Emre’s mystic folk poetry which is notable, inter alia, for its universalist humanism.
Ottoman literature, which stressed poetry as the superior art, utilized the forms and the aesthetic values of Islamic Arabo-Persian literature. The educated elite, led by the sultans (many of whom were accomplished poets themselves), produced a huge body of verse whose hallmarks included refined diction, abstruse vocabulary, euphony, romantic agony, and dedication to formalism and tradition, and the Sufi brand of mysticism. Prose, although not held in high esteem by the Ottoman literary establishment, accounts for some excellent achievements, particularly the travelogues of the seventeenth-century cultural commentator Evliya Çelebi. The Ottoman Empire nurtured a rich theatrical tradition, which consisted of Karagöz (shadow plays),
Meddah (storyteller and impersonator), and Orta oyunu (a type of commedia dell’arte).
The oral tradition, in addition to the early Dede Korkut tales, which recount the Turks’ heroic exploits, produced a large body of legends and stories. Its principal achievement is folk poetry, composed by minstrels and troubadours, who voiced in a spontaneous, sincere, and simple language the sensibilities, yearnings, social protests, and critical views of the uneducated classes. Utilizing Turkic verse forms and syllabic meters, often extemporized and sung to musical accompaniment, replete with assonances, alliterations, and inexact rhymes, folk poetry harped on the themes of love, heroism, the beauties of nature, and, at times, mysticism.
Classical poetry remained under the pervasive influence of Persian and Arabic verse: it imitated and tried to emulate the same verse forms, rhyme and rhythm patterns, meters, mythology, and even the same Weltanschauung. It adopted a substantial corpus of vocabulary from the Persian and Arabic languages.
Until the twentieth century, two literary mainstreams, seldom converging, constituted the flow of Ottoman Turkish creative arts—poesia d’arte and poesia popolare—to use Croce’s two categories. The first embodies elite, learned, ornate, refined literature; the second represents spontaneous, indigenous, down-to-earth, unassuming oral literature. Poesia d’arte is almost always an urban, and often upper-class, phenomenon, while poesia popolare flourishes mainly in the countryside. The former, as the name suggests, has a strong commitment to the principle of art for art’s sake, whereas the latter is preponderantly engagé or utilitarian in function and substance.
The conventional devices—strict formalism, stock similes, and metaphors—as well as some of the basic themes and concerns of classical Ottoman literature, may be found in a gazel (lyric ode) by Fuzuli (d. 1556), one of the greatest masters, in a faithful, but grotesquely archaic, translation by E. J. W. Gibb, the indefatigable British scholar who produced the most comprehensive study
of Ottoman verse,1 but who perhaps did irreparable damage to
Turkish literature because of his anachronistic translations:
Feres are heedless, spheres are ruthless, Fortune is inconstant quite;
Woes are many, friends not any, strong the foe, and weak my plight.
Past away hope’s gracious shadow, passion’s sun beats fierce and hot;
Lofty the degree of ruin, lowly is the rank of right.
Little power hath understanding, louder aye grows slander’s voice,
Scant the ruth of fickle Fortune, daily worsens Love’s respite.
I’m a stranger in this country, guile-beset is union’s path;
I’m a wight of simple spirit, earth with faerie shows is dight.
Every slender figure’s motions form a stream of sorrow’s flood,
Every crescent-brow’s a headline of the scroll that madness hight.
Learning’s dignity’s unstable as the leaf before the wind;
Fortune’s workings are inverted, like the trees in water bright.
Sore desired the frontier, fraught with anguish lies the road of trial;
Yearned for is the station, all the path of proof beset with fright.
Like the harp’s sweet voice, the longed for beauty bides behind the veil;
Like the bubbles on the wine, reversed the beaker of delight.
Separation is my portion, dread the way to union’s land;
Ah, I weet not where to turn me, none is here to guide aright.
Tears of cramoisie have seized on Fuzuli’s sallow cheek;
Lo, what shades the Sphere cerulean maketh thereupon to light.
A century after Gibb’s work, I offer the following
(less distorted and more idiomatic) translation of
another lyric ode of Fuzuli. This translation tries to
replicate the formal structure, rhyme-pattern, and
rhythmic effects of the original.
Ah, I weet not where to turn me, none is here to guide aright.
Tears of cramoisie have seized on Fuzuli’s sallow cheek;
Lo, what shades the Sphere cerulean maketh thereupon to light.
A century after Gibb’s work, I offer the following
(less distorted and more idiomatic) translation of
another lyric ode of Fuzuli. This translation tries to
replicate the formal structure, rhyme-pattern, and
I reap no gains but trouble at your place when I come near;
My wish to die on your love’s path is all that I hold dear.
I am the reed-flute when griefs assemble. Cast to the winds
What you find in my burnt-up, dried-up body except desire.
May bloody tears draw curtains on my face the day we part
So that my eyes will see just that moon-faced love when they peer.
My loneliness has grown to such extremes that not a soul
Except the whirlwind of disaster spins within my sphere.
There’s nobody to burn for my sake but my heart’s own fire;
My door is opened by none other than the soft zephyr.
O waves, don’t ravage all my surging teardrops, for this flood
Has caused all welfare buildings save this one to disappear.
The rites of love are on; how can the poet hold his sighs:
Except for sound, what profit could be found in me to clear?
Yunus Emre (d. ca. 1321) was the wellspring of Anatolian Turkish folk poetry, and remains its paragon. He is best known for quintessential verses and devotional hymns written in syllabic meters and a simple style. He once cautioned against effusive language: “Too many words are fit for a beast of burden.” His message to the rural masses is direct and forceful, full of love and humanism:
I am not here on earth for strife,
Love is the mission of my life.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I love you in depths beyond my soul.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Come, let us all be friends for once,
Let us make life easy on us,
Let us be lovers and loved ones,
The earth shall be left to no one.
The nineteenth-century men of letters inherited the classical and the folk traditions, but turned their attention to the literary tastes and movements of the West—particularly of France and, to a lesser extent, England. The Ottoman state, beset by military defeat and atrophied social institutions, embarked upon a process of transformation usually referred to as Westernization. In 1839 the Tanzimat (Reforms) Period started to introduce legal, administrative, educational, and technological innovations. Cultural and literary changes followed in quick succession. New genres, adopted from Europe, gained ascendancy: fiction, drama for the legitimate stage, journalistic writing, the critical essay, and others. Translations and adaptations, mainly from the French, accelerated the Europeanization of Turkish literature.
When the Ottoman state collapsed after nearly 625 years and gave way to the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Atatürk) devoted his prodigious energies to the creation of a homogeneous nation-state dedicated to modernization in all walks of life. The hold of Islamic thought and institutions over the nation was broken: secular education replaced Koranic instruction, and the government stressed nationalism as the official ideology, declaring religious allegiance and practice a stumbling block to progress. The legal system adapted the Swiss Civil Code, the Italian Penal Code, and German Commercial Law. Perhaps the most difficult of all reforms, the Language Revolution, was undertaken with lightning speed in 1928, and since then it has achieved a scope of success unparalleled in the modern world. The Arabic script, considered sacrosanct as Koranic orthography and used by the Turks for a millennium, was replaced by the Latin alphabet. A massive effort, still maintaining its momentum, has effectively purged the language of the vast majority of borrowings from Arabic and Persian. Atatürk’s “New Turkey,” which he defined as a “Republic of Culture,” seemed to uphold the statement made in 1913 by Abdullah Cevdet, an influential intellectual: “There is no other civilization: Civilization means European civilization, and it must be imported with its roses and thorns.” Although the sweeping reforms did not extend into the rural areas, in the urban
centers drastic changes took place: political system, religious faith, national ideology, educational institutions and methods, intellectual orientation, daily life, script and language—all underwent transformation. Literature was also caught in the maelstrom.
All stages of modern Turkish history (reforms under Atatürk, 1923–1938; consolidation under İnönü, 1938–1950; democracy under Menderes, 1950–1960; junta, coalitions, caretaker cabinets, parliamentary governments since 1960) have been marked by the thrust of literary modernization. Today’s Turkey is homogeneous in population (more than ninety-nine percent Muslim) and integral in political and administrative structure—yet pluralistic, full of inner tensions, a battleground of traditionalists vs. revolutionaries, Islamists vs. secularists. Its literature is vibrant with ideologies, with a feverish search for values old and new, for diverse styles and tastes, for elements that can be employed to revive the traditional national culture, and for significant borrowings from the West as well as from other traditions.
Since the mid-nineteenth century, the most vital debate of Turkish literature has been between the proponents of art for art’s sake and the advocates of commitment to realism and social causes. Mustafa Kemal Pasha himself, in a conversation that took place in 1921, about two years before he proclaimed the Republic, exhorted the nineteen-year-old Nazım Hikmet, already a famous poet, who would soon embrace the Communist ideology and influence the course of modern Turkish literature, particularly poetry, more profoundly than anyone else, to “write poems with a purpose.” The advice was heeded by each generation of writers since then, giving rise to patriotic verse in abundance on the one hand, and to socialist realism on the other. Especially from the 1950s until the 1980s, there was a massive output, in all genres, depicting the plight of the lumpenproletariat. But surrealism, neo-symbolism, theater of the absurd, stream-of-consciousness techniques, hermeticism, black comedy, and obscurantist verse have also flourished.
The literary tastes of the early years of the Republic were dominated by numerous revered poets who had emerged in the twilight of the Ottoman Empire. These prominent figures included Abdülhak Hâmit Tarhan (1852–1937), who, according to E. J. W. Gibb, inaugurated “the true Modern School of Turkish poetry, and whose elegiac, philosophical and metaphysical poems and stentorian verse tragedies fired the imagination of the Ottoman elite.” Mehmet Emin Yurdakul (1869–1944) intoned a mystique of Turkish nationalism: “I am a Turk: my faith and my race are mighty.” Ahmet Haşim (1887–1933), under the influence of French symbolists, combined a striking fiery imagery with melancholy sonal effects to create his lyrics of spiritual exile (“We ignore the generation which has no sense of melancholy”), articulated a view that summed up a fundamental aspect of classical poetry, and adumbrated the credo of the neo-surrealists of the 1950s and 1960s: “The poet’s language is constructed not for the purpose of being understood but to be heard; it is an intermediary language between music and words, yet closer to music than to words.”
Mehmet Âkif Ersoy (1873–1936), a master of heroic diction, devoted much of his verse to the dogma, passion, and summum bonum of Islam. His nationalism has a strong Islamic content, evident in the lyrics of the Turkish national anthem that he wrote. His elegy “For the Fallen at Gallipoli” is a celebrated expression of the values he upheld:
Soldier, for these hallowed lands, now on this land you lie dead,
Your forebears may well lean from Heaven to kiss your forehead.
How mighty you are, you safeguard our True Faith with your blood;
Your glory is shared by the braves of the Prophet of God.2
Who could dig the grave that will not be too narrow for you?
If we should bury you in history, you would break through.
That book cannot hold your epochs with all their rampages:
You could only be contained by everlasting ages.
If I could set up the Kaaba at the head of your pit
And carve on it the inspiration that stirs my spirit;
If I could seize the firmament with all the stars within,

And lay it as a pall over your still - bleeding coffin;
If I could hitch spring clouds as ceiling for your open tomb,
Hang the Pleiades’ seven lamps in your mausoleum,
As you lie drenched in your own blood under the chandelier;
If I could drag the moonlight out of night into your bier
To stand guard by you as custodian until Doomsday;
If I could fill your chandelier with dawn’s eternal ray,
And wrap your wound at dusk with the sunset’s silken glory—
I still cannot say I have done something for your memory.
“I am,” wrote Yahya Kemal Beyatlı (1884–1958), “the future with roots in the past.” He was the much-acclaimed neoclassicist who produced, in the conventional forms and meters, meticulous lyrics of love, Ottoman grandeur, and Istanbul’s natural attractions. His “Death of the Epicures” is a testament to spiritual tranquillity and to the aesthetic life:
In the garden of the poet’s3 tomb there’s a rose, they say,
Day in day out it blooms anew, its color is blood-choked;
A nightingale weeps all night, they say, till the break of day:
In its tunes, the dreams of the city of love4 are evoked.
Death for an epicure is the springtime of calm and peace;
For years his soul smolders like incense burning everywhere
While his tomb lies and endures under the cool cypresses—
Each dawn a rose blooms and each night a nightingale sings there.
Among the dedicated revolutionaries in twentieth-century Turkish poetry Nazım Hikmet (1902–1963) ranks the highest. He had been a modernizing force since the early 1920s, remaining significant in aesthetic and political terms. He launched and popularized free verse under the early influence of Mayakovski. A communist, he spent many years in Turkish jails, fled to the Soviet Union in 1951, and died in Moscow in 1963. His poetry fuses social protest and a lyricism full of rhythmic effects and ingenious onomatopoeia. He practiced functionalism by doing away with the conventional molds, and created formal structures
as the embodiment of content. Much of his large body of work laments social injustice, complains of the oppression of the masses, and yearns for revolutionary change. He composed many tender love lyrics, but his followers remember him more for his battle cries—“We can only reach our goal / amid bloodletting”—and for his concern about his comrades in other countries, as voiced in “Angina Pectoris,” written while he was in prison in the late 1940s:
Doctor, if half of my heart is here,
the other half is in China,
with the army
streaming toward the Yellow River.
Also, doctor, every morning,
as the sun rises, my heart
is shot in Greece.
And, in here, when the prisoners fall asleep
and the last steps leave the infirmary desolate,
my heart goes to a dilapidated wooden house in Çamlıca5
night after night, doctor.
And then, doctor, for ten years now
all I have that I can offer my poor people
is just this apple in my hand:
just a red apple:
my heart.
It’s not because of arteriosclerosis nor nicotine nor prison,
but because of this, dear doctor, because of this
that I have angina pectoris.
I gaze at the night through the iron bars
and despite the pressure on my breastbone
my heart beats together with the most distant star.
Turkey’s romantic revolutionary produced a prodigious amount of poetry, many plays—conventional as well as avant-garde—which have been staged not only in Turkey but also in the Soviet Union and numerous European countries, and several inept novels. His “Memleketimden İnsan Manzaraları” (Human


Turkish Culture, art and literature have generously contributed to universal culture and science through its literary products flowered in various geographies in different languages and in different styles throughout the history. Both the effects of Anatolian, Mediterranean and Mesopotamian civilizations and the cultural interrelations established both with the Eastern and the Western societies have strongly influenced Turkey’s rich cultural artistic and literary heritage. This cultural and artistic accumulation which has emerged as a consequence of thoroughly different experiences displays a unique form of its own.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkish Republic is a pioneer in producing sample projects for the survival and enrichment of national culture in addition to the works for sharing the rich cultural, artistic and literary accumulation of Turkey with other nations of the world so as to contribute to the universal culture.

In the contemporary world, the blending of various cultures and civilizations; has led the Ministry of Culture and Tourism to establish a publication policy in accordance with this process. It has introduced the principal authors of Turkish culture, art and literature to the world and paved the way to foreign readers to read Turkish works in their native languages.

TEDA which is essentially a translation and publication subvention project was vitalized in 2005 for the wider dissemination of Turkish culture through the translation, publication or promotion of Turkish cultural, artistic and literary work outside of Turkey. Within the framework of TEDA aiming to share Turkish cultural, artistic and literary spirit with the readers outside of Turkey in their languages; the ministry provides subventions to international institutions, enterprises, companies, foundations and publishing firms which will publish such books.

The project of TEDA initiated in 2005 have extensively attracted the attention of international society and held a great success. Since the beginning of the project; the publishers from 25 different countries have been given support for the translation, publication and promotion of 80 works. Both the number of works being granted subvention and their success reveal the significance of TEDA’s role in the dissemination of Turkish written heritage throughout the world.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Crewed yachts are with sails and generally run by their owners or a well known professional crew. Their job to ensure you are well looked after, entertained and safe.

The highlights of crewed yachting is the experience you will encounter whilst sailing.