By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
Turkey’s parliament speaker on Tuesday issued a message commemorating poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy, the author of the Turkish national anthem.
"He was a brave man who held up the righteous while taking a stand against the tyranny of the strong," said the message by Ismail Kahraman marking the 81st anniversary of Ersoy’s death.
He hailed Ersoy as someone who joined the ranks of immortal figures by virtue of his views and spirituality.
Ersoy, a Turkish-Albanian poet, was born in 1873 during the Ottoman era in Istanbul's Fatih district.
In 1921, in the wake of World War I, during Turkey’s War of Independence against foreign occupation, Ersoy wrote the Istiklal Marsi (Independence March).
It was written to encourage the army and motivate the struggling nation. The new republic, founded two years later in 1923, adopted the poem as its national anthem.
In addition to being a poet, Ersoy was an author, academic, and member of parliament. He passed away in 1936.
Ersoy, known in Turkey as the “national poet,” is also known for his 1911 poetry collection Safahat. His poetry explored themes of numerous problems faced by society, as well as faith-related issues.