Campaign launched to bring poet’s grave

Campaign launched to bring poet’s grave

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Campaign launched to bring poet’s grave

On the 110th birthday of Nazım Hikmet, villagers planted a plane tree and started a campaign. DHA photo

Residents of a village in Bursa have started a campaign to rebury Turkey’s most famous poet, Nazım Hikmet, in their graveyard during ceremonies marking the 110th anniversary of his birth.

The inhabitants of Kıranışıklar in the northwestern province’s Keleş district said they had launched the campaign so that they could realize the poet’s will to be buried under a plane tree in a village graveyard in Anatolia. During the ceremony, residents duly planted a plane tree in earth that was taken from Nazım’s grave in Moscow.

The campaign has received support from the Kıranışıklar Village Platform, the Peace Association, Nilüfer City Council and the 68’ers Foundation.

The ceremony, which featured readings from Nazım’s poems, drew Republican People’s Party (CHP) Bursa deputy Sena Kaleli and officials from organizations and villagers.

Naızm Atak, the son of Ahmet Atak, who was in the same prison as the poet in 1942, said the goal of the campaign was to realize the poet’s biggest dream.

“My father was put in the Bursa Prison because of slander in 1942 and made friends with Nazım Hikmet there. After he was released, he changed my name from Niyazi to Nazım when I was 4. Nobody knows me as Niyazi. My grandchild’s name is Nazım, too,” Atak said.

Atak said Nazım had established nearly 15 weaving looms in the prison and that prisoners had worked there.

“He gave reading and painting lessons to people there. He also wrote petitions for many prisoners, as well as my father’s. It is an honor for me to have Nazım Hikmet’s name. Today he is appreciated by the world. I want the grave to be moved to this village; people here have the same views as Nazım. This is why we want his grave to be move here.”

Birthday in Beşiktaş

Meanwhile, Istanbul’s Beşiktaş Municipality and the Nazım Hikmet Culture and Art Foundation organized a series of events for the 110th birthday of the poet yesterday, Anatolia news agency reported.

At a ceremony held in front of the Bosphorus’ Tarabya Hotel, Beşiktaş Mayor İsmail Ünal said Nazım was one of the most significant poets in the country’s history but had had a difficult life.

“We are preparing a very good project for Nazım. We will be able to present it to the public in the middle of June,” the mayor said.

Nazım Hikmet Foundation Chairman Rutkay Aziz said the famous poet left the country on June 21, 1951.

“I am proud of having such a world-renowned poet but we made him suffer too much. I hope he will forgive us. As the foundation, we will survive with his poems, plays and novels,” Aziz said.

Following the speeches, flowers were thrown into the sea from the place where the famous poet fled the country in a boat bound for the Soviet bloc. After being rescued by a Romanian ship, Nazım eventually arrived in Moscow, where he continued to write until his death in 1963. He is now interred in the Russian capital’s Novodevichy Cemetery.