Moscow, Sarajevo mark anniversary of Turkish anthem

MOSCOW

Moscow has hosted a ceremony marking the 98th anniversary of the Turkish national anthem and honoring the memory of its author, the great poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy. 

Attending the ceremony Monday were Turkish Ambassador to Moscow Mehmet Samsar, Omer Ozkan, head of the Moscow chapter of Turkey’s Yunus Emre Institute, which organized the event, and many Russians and Turks.

“The national anthem gave direction to the [Turkish] War of Independence and determined the direction of Turkey,” said Samsar.

“Our values, our history of civilization, our faith, our nation’s historical march are embodied in the verses of our national anthem,” he added.

The values of the anthem inspired the Turkish nation to stand against and defeat a 2016 coup attempt, according to Samsar. 

Meanwhile, a commemoration ceremony organized by the Yunus Emre Institute was held in Bosnia Herzegovina’s capital, Sarajevo.

Among those attending were Turkish Ambassador Haldun Koc, representatives of Turkish institutions and academics and students.

During the ceremony, Bosnian academic Dzemaludin Latic announced that Ersoy’s poem “To the Dardanelles Martyrs” will be translated into the Bosnian language.

Bosnian students learning Turkish also read Ersoy’s poems and awards were given to the winners of a composition contest titled “Voice of the Nation Mehmet Akif”.

The Turkish national anthem was written in 1921 during the War of Independence as Turkey battled 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, founded two years later, in 1923. 

Mehmet Akif Ersoy, Turkey’s “national poet,” was also an author, academic and member of parliament. 

The first reading of Ersoy’s patriotic poem — the Istiklal Marsi, or Independence March – received a standing ovation, and it was accepted as the national anthem on March 12, 1921. 

Ersoy passed away in 1936.

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