Turkey marks 58th death anniversary of Nazım Hikmet
Hikmet was born in 1902 to an elite family in Thessaloniki, an Ottoman Empire territory in present-day Greece. He grew up in Anatolia, the Turkish heartland.
After studying economics and political science in Moscow, he returned home as a Marxist in 1924, a year after the new Turkish Republic was founded following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
After a court sentenced him to 15 years in prison for his poems and articles published in Aydınlık magazine, Hikmet fled from Turkey and went to Moscow.
Hikmet’s first poetry collection called “Güneşi İçenlerin Türküsü” (The Ballad of Those Who Drink the Sun) was published in Baku in 1927. He was imprisoned for a brief period when he entered Turkey in July 1928 to take advantage of the amnesty issued on the fifth anniversary of the republic.
He was acquitted in many lawsuits due to his poems but was again arrested on the allegation of “establishing a secret organization” until 1933 and later on the charge of “inciting the army and navy to rebellion,” getting sentenced to 28 years and four months in prison.
Freed in 1950 under the general amnesty, the poet was awarded the “International Peace Prize” by the World Peace Council, along with Pablo Picasso, Paul Robeson, Wanda Jakubowska and Pablo Neruda. In 1951, he left Turkey permanently to live in the Soviet Union, after which he traveled to Eastern Europe, Cuba and other places.
When he left Turkey in 1951, Turkey revoked his citizenship but was restored 58 years later in 2009.
UNESCO declared 2002 the Year of Nazım Hikmet to mark the 100th anniversary of his birthday.
Hikmet died of a heart attack in Moscow in 1963 and is still buried there, despite attempts to bring his remains to Turkey.