Turkish capital marks birth of national anthem
AA PhotoThe 94th anniversary of the Turkish national anthem was celebrated in Ankara on March 12, honoring the memory of its author, poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy.
Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, attending the event near Ersoy’s house where he composed the anthem and many of his famous works, praised the poet’s character.
The Turkish National Anthem was written in 1921 during the War of Independence as Turkey battled against occupation by foreign forces after World War I.
It was penned in order to encourage the fighting army and to motivate the struggling nation. It was also the official anthem of the new Republic which would be founded two years later in 1923.
“He was an exemplary person in every aspect,” Arınç said, describing Ersoy as “deeply concerned” with the nation’s development and eliminating social problems of his time.
Ersoy was a Turkish poet, author, academic and member of parliament who passed away in 1936.
Organized by the Ministry of Youth and the Writers’ Union of Turkey, the event saw the gathering of statesmen and academics, as well as primary and middle school students named after Ersoy from all 81 Turkish provinces.
In 1921, a nationwide contest was organized for the composition of a national anthem. At first, Ersoy refused to participate as he was opposed to the idea of a national anthem contest that offered a monetary prize. However, Hamdullah Suphi, Minister of National Education, later managed to convince him.
Suphi read Ersoy’s anthem in the First Assembly to a standing ovation, and it was accepted as the national anthem on March 12, 1921. Ersoy dedicated the anthem to the Turkish army fighting against foreign occupation, and donated the 500 Turkish Liras prize to a charity organization offering professional training to women.