Mehmet Akif Ersoy left Istanbul with his 12 years old son named Emin on 10 April 1920. He was also accompanied by Mr. Ali Şükrü, having met him at Uskudar Karacahmet Cemetery they moved to İzmit plateau which was under the control of National Movement Army. By the help of them Mehmet Akif Ersoy and his friends succeeded in reaching Geyve Gate. This journey had been finished first by car and on foot. He used narrow-gauge railroad to Eskişehir and arrived in Ankara by train on 24 April 1920 in the afternoon.
He met Ataturk in the entrance of parliament, Mustafa Kemal went like; “and I was waiting for you sir, just on time” and added that he would wait him for the following day.
By 7th May of 1920, Mehmet Akif called for everyone to gather around a national war, he tried to enlighten people with his speeches he was then chosen to Committee of Guidance and Committee of Advice. The impact of his speech were not only in Ankara but also effected many other Anatolian cities. After 15 days in Ankara, as citizens of Burdur invited him so seriously he then headed to Burdur with his little son, Emin. He was welcomed with a big crowd, he preached to Burdur citizens too.
His son Emin tells the story of Burdur visit like; “My father convinced them seriously, his attitudes and words were so frank and real, there was a harmony on his figurative speech. All these attitudes made him so important among Anatolian mosques, town, villages etc. He could deeply touch everyone’s heart with his words. Many of the men in the crowd who could hold a gun was saying a farewell to his family members’ and running to battlefield.
Mehmet Akif was chosen the deputy of Burdur and Biga, as Biga was under the invasion of enemies. Mehmet Akif remembers the trip to Burdur like; “After 15 days in Ankara, we were invited to visit the city of Burdur, we were accompanied by the Antalya deputy Mr. Süleyman and his wife. Our journey started with a coach, for nights and days we gave short breaks on our way. We were really tired by the time we got in Burdur. Fortunately the attitudes of Burdur people and their warm welcoming were worth to that hard journey. Mehmet Akif Ersoy and his friends were given dinners and welcoming meetings almost in a different house every night.
For the first time I saw my father in the government mansion while he was speaking to a community which included more than 400 people. He was talking with his loud voice and his anxiety was felt by his movements.He was telling the bad news received from İzmir region and the tortures done to our people in such a painful language that I was also among the crowd and I was furious too.
That tremendous crowd was in a deep silence. However, that was such a silence and an atmosphere that it was like coming from the ones who accepted the risk of death. Also moaning of some patriotic who couldn’t keep their tears could be heard.
We were in Burdur for a week. They paid lots of compliments to my father. We had lunch and dinner in different places as invited guest. The poet of Safahat wasn’t an appetite person. Despite his huge body, he ate less. He got the good taste for delicious foods and especially desserts .In Burdur He liked the pear shaped dessert he ate in the houses of some notable people. He wanted to learn the name of the dessert from the owner of the house. We moved from Burdur in the direction of the south. We went on our travel with the horse cart.
Mehmet Akif had been in Ankara until the last days of April in 1920 and after he had been there for 10-15 days ,he started his travel. Firstly,he had been in Eskişehir for 20 days and then came to Burdur.And we can say that Mehmet Akif Ersoy came to Burdur at the end of May or at the beginning of June in 1920.mehmet Akif Ersoy had been in Antalya for about 15 days.While he was going to Ankara, he stayed in Burdur for one more week because the people insisted to do so much.
Burdur elects the first term congressmen
With the command of Mustafa Kemal Pasha ,Burdur National Committee chose five congressmen from Burdur for TBMM, 3rd April 1920.The first congressmen for TBMM were; Mufti of Burdur Hali Hulusi, Burdur Military Service Department Chairman İsmail Hakkı,Çiloğlu Fahrettin Bey,District Governer of Tefenni town Şevket Bey and Professor Veliyuttin Bey. However; because Navy Captain İsmail Hakkı Küçük and Çiloğlu Fahrettin Bey resigned and Mufti Hali Hulusi Efendi passed away on 25th April and Burdur protect Low Community elected İsmail Suphi , Mehmet Akif and Burdur Possessor Ali Ulvi Bey on 17th May 1920.After İsmail Hakkı resigned , Mehmet Akif Ersoy was elected with command of Atatürk.
There are different names in different sources about first congressmen sent from Burdur to TBMM. For example; in Yurt Encylopedia,it is indicated that one of the congressmen was in Istanbul and he couldn’t come to Ankara ,so Fahrettin Pasha was elected in place of him. And because ismail Hakkı Bey resigned, mehmet Akif Ersoy was elected.However; according to the documents of historian Osman Koçibey from Burdur there wasn’t Fahrettin Altay Pasha’s name.(for the documents visit: http://kocibey.net\meh-metakif-htm) Fahrettin Altay Pasha was Burdur’s 8th term congressman.In the book of TBMM album by Kazım Öztürk, it is indicated that İsmail Hakkı Albay resigned before he attended to parliament on 6th July 1336,too. However ;the document determined by Osman Koçibey removed the complication.Historian Mahmut Goloğlu indicated that Hüseyin Baki Bey wanted to come from Parliament in Istanbul to Parliament in Ankara and Hüseyin Baki Bey asked for permission by telegraph before he attended to the parliament on 5th July 1920, but his permission was not accepted by the parliament.
Mehmet Akif’s being elected
The chairman of Burdur Military Service Department–İsmail Bey was elected the congressman to TBMM , but he resigned and Mehmet Akif Ersoy was elected in place of him. Mustafa Kemal Pasha sent a coded telegraph to fahrettin Altay’s telegraph was so: “12th Army Commander Fahrettin Bey in Konya,code,Ankara,29.04.1920 ‘ I request that Mehmet Akif Ersoy be elected as the member of Liva National Assembly instead of Colonel İsmail Bey who insists on resigning from his position in the National Assembly and inform me about the result’ The President of the Turkish National Assembly, Mustafa Kemal”
The official report that indicated Mehmet Akif was elected as the congressman from Burdur reached to parliament in 5th June 1920 and it was accepted with unanimity by Official Report Follow up Committee and the parliament. And the news about which Mehmet Akif was elected as the congressman from Biga reached to the parliament. Thereupon ,Parliament Presidency sent a letter to Mehmet Akif on 14th July 1920 and wanted him to make a choice between Burdur or Biga Deputyship. However; before the reply of the letter reached , Mehmet Akif swore with other congressmen on 15th July 1920.The reply for Akif’s letter was read on 18th July 1920 after the 2nd chairman of the parliament Celalettin Arif Bey opened the parliament . Akif’s reply read by the typist of the parliament was so ;”It is the answer for the presidency letter of TBMM-14-VII-1336.I inform that I resigned from my position as the member of Biga.17 June 1336,the member of TBMM, Mehmet Akif Ersoy.”
Turkish Grand National Assembly 1st Term Deputies of Burdur and Their Autobiographies-Mehmet Akif Ersoy
He was born in Fatih in 1873.He was the son of Mehmet Tahir Efendi who was the teachers of Fatih Madrasah.He completed his primary and secondary education in Emir Buhari School ,Fatih Primary School and Central High School in Fatih. He learned Persian,Arabic and French from his dad and other teachers.He graduated from Civil Service High School in 1888.He had to live the school because of his father’s death.He started to be engaged with the poem while he was in the Civil Service High School.In 1889 he started to Veterinary Faculty.After he graduated from the faculty as passing out the highest student,he was appointed as the Veterinary Vice Inspector.On account of his job,he worked in many places of Anatolia,Rumelia and Arabia.He had close relationships with the nation.
His poems were published in the magazines and also in the illustrated paper from 1894.The main theme of his poems was Muslim’s gaining their independence by awakening and uniting under the name of The Community of Islamic Nations. Another subject which he dealt with in his poems was Quran. He was first appointed to Halkalı Land College in 1906 and then to Agriculture High School in 1907 as a Turkish teacher. In 1908,he became the Vice Director at Nezaretin Veterinary Office.
He undertook the editorship of “Sırat-i Müstakim” journal which started to be published after the 2nd Constitutional Monarchy. He started to publish translations and poems from contemporary Egyptian writers in this journal and in “Sebilürreşat “journal. He was appointed to Darülfünun’s Literature Branch as the Ottoman Literature teacher on 24th November 1908.He collected his poems and essays written during the Balkan War , in his works “Hakkın Sesleri”.He resigned from his job in Veterinary Department on 11th May 1913.He had to quit from his job in Darülfünun , because his articles in Sebilürreşat Journal were contrary to the policy of Committee of Union and Progress .He went to Egypt as the quest of Abbas Halim Pasha at the beginning of 1914. He had been there for 2 months and came back. At the end of the year,he was sent to Berlin by “Teşkilat-ı Mahsusa” which was a secret organ of Committee of Union and Progress. Here he contacted with Muslim slaves. He published his impressions of three months’ trip in Sebilürreşat Journal under the name of “The Memories of Berlin”.
In may 1915, he tried to make Necit Emiri İbn-I Resif be loyal to the government against Şerif Hüseyin who was about to close with the English by going to Riyat with a committee. He wrote his poem named “Necit Çöllerinden Medine’ye” for this visit.
He was assigned to Darülhikme as the first secretary in 1918. However, he couldn’t stay there and went to Balıkesir because Istanbul was occupied. For a while, he met with the supporters of National Resistance and City Notables. He preached in Mosques in order to inform the society. After a while , he came back to Istanbul. His aim was to go to the center of salvation movement in Ankara. He left his home in Çengelköy in 1920 and he came back to Ankara with Ali Şükrü Bey who was the Congressman of Trabzon. He made his first speech in Hacıbayram Mosque on 30th April 1920.
He was elected as the congressman from Biga in Turkish Grand National Assembly on 5th June 1920. He attended to parliament on 4th June 1920. However, he was employed to inform the society and he wandered Eskişehir,Burdur,Sandıklı,Dinar,Antalya and Afyon regions. He preached in mosques about goal and aims of national struggle. By the way, he preferred Burdur and resigned from Biga as he was elected as congressman from Burdur on 8th July 1920.
He was accepted 45 days permit by General Assembly in October and he was wanted to carry on his informing job. Firstly he went to Konya and then to Kastamonu. His permission was prolonged for a month and then he went back for his legislation duty at the end of December.
He worked in national Education also in Council and in the parliament. At the 2nd year meeting he started working as the National Education Chairman and the 3rd year meeting he became the typist of Irsad Council.
When he came to the end of his carrier in deputyship he went to Istanbul. He had been in Egypt in during the winters of1923, 1924 and 1925. He taught Turkish language and Literature in Ezher University. Also, he carried out the task of Qur’an translations. After Abbas Halim Pasha’s death (beginning of 1935) he realized that he can no more stay at Egypt, not mentioning his illness was discomforting him. He came to Cebel-i Lebanon in same year in order to have some rest. After a month he went to Antakya which was under the control of France at that time.
*Prof. Dr. Metin ÖZATAŞ ; İlk Çağlardan Kurtuluş Savaşı'na Burdur Tarihi , Umay Yayınları , Eylül 2009 İZMİR