Hungarian hero in Kütahya to be visited
KÜTAHYA - Hürriyet Daily News
This file photo shows a monument to Hungarian national hero, Lajos Kossuth, in Kütahya.
Hungary President Pal Schmitt is expected to pay a visit Nov. 16 to Kütahya, where national hero Lajos Kossuth lived in 1850.
The trip to the Aegean province will coincide with an official visit to Turkey.
Schmitt is expected to visit the Kossuth House, also known as the Hungarian House by locals, where Kossuth lived between 1850 and 1851. Schmitt will also leave a wreath at a monument to Kossuth in the same province, Victor Matis, Hungary’s cultural attaché in Turkey, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“Provinces such as Tekirdağ, Kocaeli, Osmaniye and Kütahya have special importance for Hungary. Kütahya is the location where Ottoman authorities placed him and many of his friends after accepting his asylum request,” said Matis, adding that he was already in Kütahya making preparations for Schmitt’s visit.
Kossuth, a charasmatic journalist and politician, had been agitating for years for greater Hungarian rights. In the run-up to the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Kossuth succeeded in becoming Hungary’s regent-president and carving out greater freedoms for his nation.
After Kossuth failed in his quest to lead Hungary to independence from the Hapsburgs during the 1848 revolution, he sought asylum in the Ottoman Empire.
He was hospitably received by the Ottoman authorities, who refused demands to surrender him and other fugitives to Austria. In Kütahya, he was joined by his children and his wife and lived in a house currently located on Hungarian Street in Kütahya.
“In Kütahya, he prepared a draft for the Hungary Constitution which is of great importance to us,” said Matis.
The national leader continued his campaign for liberty after leaving the Ottoman Empire on a U.S. steamer that eventually took him to Southampton, England. Kossuth gave a number of lectures overseas before finally settling in Turin, from which he watched Hungary reconcile itself to the Habsburg throne. Kossuth finally retired from political life in 1867 and passed away in 1894. His remains were buried in Budapest during a ceremony that prompted nationwide mourning.
Kossuth was not the only dissident from Eastern Europe to seek asylum in the Ottoman Empire. Polonezköy (Adampol in Polish), on Istanbul’s Asian side, attracted a number of Polish immigrants after their homeland ceased to exist as an independent entity toward the end of the 18th century. Istanbul reportedly remained the only capital in the world to maintain a Polish ambassador until the end of World War I and the subsequent re-creation of Poland. Today, there are still fluent Polish speakers in Polonezköy.