12 March Acceptance of the National Anthem and Mehmet Akif Ersoy Memorial Day

12 March Acceptance of the National Anthem and Mehmet Akif Ersoy Memorial Day

    On the 101st anniversary of the acceptance of our National Independence Anthem by the Turkish Grand National Assembly, we commemorate our National Poet Mehmet Akif Ersoy, a unique poet making our commitment and determination to the independence of our nation a legendary epic, and all our martyrs with respect and gratitude.

    Published in the journal Sebilürreşad
    Grand Turkish National Assembly decided to open a competition to choose the Turkish National Anthem, during the War of Independence. The Ministry of National Education announced the competition and the 500 liras prize in the newspaper Hakimiyet-i Milliye on October 25, 1920.

    None of the 724 works sent until 23 December 1920 were found sufficient to reflect the national ambition.

    Mehmet Akif Ersoy did not participate in the competition because of the promised-award, 500 liras. When Akif was convinced that he would not have to accept the money, he completed our National Anthem in 10 days in the Tacettin Dervish Lodge where he lived. The National Anthem was published on the first page of the journal Sebilürreşad on February 17, 1921, with the dedication of "Our Heroic Army".

    Hamdullah Suphi Tanrıöver recited first time
    The Assembly experienced one of its historical days on March 1, 1921.
    Hamdullah Suphi Tanrıöver, Minister of National Education of the time, recited The National Independence Anthem first time. From the first line, “Fear not, the crimson flag, waving in these dawns will never fade”, to the last, applauses didn’t stop.

    Worried that he might be thought to have written the National Anthem for money, Akif, despite being in serious financial trouble, donated the 500 lira award he won to Darülmesai, an organization educating poor women and children.

    "It is buried in the heart of my nation"
    Mehmet Akif Ersoy explained the reason why he did not include the National Anthem in Safahat: "Because it is buried in the heart of my nation." Lived in Egypt for a long time after the War of Independence and taught Turkish lessons there, returned ill and tired to Istanbul for treatment on 17 June 1936. Ersoy lived in an apartment on the fourth floor of the Mısır Apartment in Beyoğlu belonging to Abbas Halim Pasha, and passed away on December 27, 1936. The tomb of the Poet of Independence in Edirnekapı Martyrs' Cemetery is visited by thousands of people every year. Akif, who was deemed worthy of the 2018 Loyalty Award within the scope of the Presidential Culture and Art Grand Awards, preserves his place in our hearts as a national poet.