Mehmet Akif Ersoy was born in Sarıgüzel district of the town Fatih in Istanbul in December,1873 and he died in the Mısır Apartment in Beyoğlu at 19.45 on Sunday on 27 December,1936.

Mehmet Akif’s father was Mehmet Fatih Efendi (1826-1888) and his mother was Emine Şerife Hanım (1836-1936).Mehmet Tahir Efendi was an intellectual and wise person who had education by coming Istanbul from Albania in his childhood age and advanced to the level of professor in Fatih Madrasah. Her mother was the member of a family from Tokat originally coming from Buhara. The family had a daughter whose name was Nuriye after Akif.
*M. Ertuğrul Düzdağ, Eğitim, Eğitim, Aylık Eğitim Dergisi, Mehmet Akif Ersoy Özel Sayısı, Yıl:7, Sayı 73, Mart:2006 Ankara


Mehmet Akif was sent to the Emir Buharı kinder garden in Fatih when he was 4 years old and he started his education life there. He had education in this school for two years ,and in turn; in primary school for three years, in secondary school for three years ,in high school for three years, then he continued the vet faculty in Ahırkapı as day student for two years and in Halkalı as internal student for two years. He got the diploma as the first graduate and the top student of the faculty.

Mehmet Akif educated himself apart from his formal education and got lessons continuously from a lot of intellectuals chiefly from his father who was a very conscious and intellectual person. As he was capable of learning language, he learned Arabic, Persian and French as well as he could follow the literature of these languages and do translations. After he broke off his hafez working which he started in his childhood for a while, he completed and memorized the Quran when he was twenty years old. He spent his final years in Egypt being busy with the sipirit of Quran.


After he had completed his education ,he started to work at the vet branch of Ziraat Vekaleti.In the first four years ,he worked as the vet in the districts of Rumelia , Anatolia and Arab. When he resigned because of an inequity having done to another person after twenty years’ Office work, he was in charge of the deputy manager of the same branch.

He started his school teaching as the teacher of the procedure of correspondence lesson in Halkalı Vet School in 1906.After 1908,he taught as the teacher of Ottoman Literature in the Literature Faculty and Darülhilafe School. During the term “suspension of arms” ,he worked as the member and the chief clerk in the Darülhikmet-il Islam which was established as the “Islamic Consultation ,Committee of Manifesto and Science” in order to teach the people Islam correctly,correct the wrong beliefs and protect the morals of Islam(August 1918-April 1920) and managed the publication unit-Ceride-İlmiyye- of this institution. He worked as the prime minister in the First National Assembly which did the Independence War”. In Egypt ,he served as the Turkish teacher in Cairo University from 1929 to 1936.

As he was 25 years old, Mehmet Akif married to Ismet Hanım and had three daughters and two sons.


He started to be interested in poem in his high school periods. He improved this ability in his late years at Vet Faculty and he had a command of Turkish and poem measure. He used to write long pieces of verse letters to his friends. At first, he was writing the poems in the style of old maestros like Ziya Paşa,Muallim Naci and Namık Kemal ,then he departed from their influence by finding his own style.

He destroyed thousands of verses of his unpublished poems which he wrote in his early periods of being poet. Only two thousands verses of these poems which were found in his friends’ notebooks and published in various magazines beforehand remained. He didn’t include these old poems into his poetic book called “Safahat”.


He published his poems in the magazine “Sıratımüstakim”-starting in 1908-and he was the editorial writer of this magazine. These were the national poems which narrated the lives and the emotions of the people in a very fluent and bare way ,which hadn’t been encountered until that time. After a while ,these poems which were published in the magazine “Sebilur reşad” as completed were gathered in the small books under a general heading “Safahat”. Between the years 1911-1924 the first six books were published and the seventh one was published in Cairo in 1933.

Mehmet Akif gave articles, interpretations and paraphrases in almost every number of the magazine apart from his poems. Some of them were also published as the book.



On the days of Balkan War when Rumelian Muslims were massacred and the rivers were full of dead ,in February in 1913 after the mid afternoon in the Beyazıt Mosque and in Fatih and Süleymaniye Mosques after the Friday prayer, Mehmet Akif called people to unity, jihad and help for the army by addressing to the crowd from the preaching chairs.

Mehmet Akif did these speeches as the member of Irşad Committee of “National Defence Assembly” which was established to support the army. The announcements of these speeches were published in the daily newspapers and the text was published in Sebilureşad.

In this war , the pain and the suffering of the girls having been drifted and carried away, the religious men having been hanged by their turbans and the oppressed people having been killed wildly were written on the national conscious and history with his crying poems.

The publications of himself and the magazine were done with the emotions of religion, country and nation and these publications became the seeds of the National Fight which would start with the whole nation. In fact, Mehmet Akif would call the people to the jihad from the Zağnos Paşa Mosque by running to the Balikesir front line where the first bullet was fired in February in 1920.


The resignation of the deputy who was elected newly and the will of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk about Mehmet Akif’s being written as the candidate caused Mehmet Akif to be elected as the deputy from Burdur.

Mehmet Akif’s being elected was informed to Colonel Fahreddin Bey who was the corps commander and acting governor of the province of Konya to which Burdur was bound with the telegraph of Paşa dated on 29 April 1920.Akif got the most vote in the result of the election held in here.

We don’t know why Biga people who didn’t know that Akif was elected from Burdur wanted Akif to be the deputy. It was certain that Akif’s name would be the first name among the brain waves in addition to his personality known by the intellectuals as he made the speech from Zağnos Paşa Mosque about starting the National Movement Army.That he got the highest votes from Biga as he got from Burdur showed this certainity.


The poem he wrote was admitted as “The Turkish National Anthem” by the decision of Assembly on 12 March, 1921.The Turkish National Anthem incident paid attention which is completely suitable for both our nation and Mehmet Akif himself.

A nationwide competition was held for selecting the national anthem of the new born Turkish Republic which would explain the meaning of the war, give excitement to the nation and the soldiers and would be equal to the level of the other nations’ anthems after the Turkish war of independence.It was announced that the poet who wrote the best verses of the anthem would be awarded 500 lira and who did the best compose would be awarded 500 lira by the . A total of 724 poems were submitted to this event.But Mehmet Akif didn’t write anything beacuse it consisted of money eventhough everybody wanted him to do.However;he didn’t have a coat for himself to wear and in the coldest weather he borrowed his friends’ coat.At the end Mehmet Akif was persuaded to write the poem by telling him that they wouldn’t give money to him.At the end ,he wrote The Turkish National Anthem with this faith and sincerity.Mehmet Akif donated the baunty to the Red Crescent.The 10-verse poem written by Mehmet Akif Ersoy was adopted unanimously by the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Another competition was held to select the most suitable musical composition for the national anthem and 24 composers submitted their works for this event. The council, in 1924, adopted the music composed by Ali Rıfat Çağatay and this music was used until 1930 to sing the words of the national anthem. After this date, the music of the national anthem was changed with the music composed by Osman Zeki Üngör, conductor of the Presidential Symphonic Orchestra. Since then, the words of the Turkish National Anthem have been sung with this musical composition. Out of the 10 verses, only the first two are sung with music.



This anthem is an enormous announcement and a national oath stating and celebrating our aim of living and also uttering all the values, beauties and highness our nation has gained after they became the Muslim and found their own individualism.

It was clear that every verse of the ten verses of the anthem was listened with a lot of applause afoot in the sessions dated 12 March 1921 which was re-read twice.

The applause and the appreciation of the exclusive people of the First Assembly Community who knew religious and national culture of those days and were in the excitement of the war were very important.



Mustafa Kemal Paşa acted as the chairman of the 1st March parliamentary session and Hamdullah Suphi Tanrıöver who was a poet and writer acted as the chairman of the 12th March parliamentary session. It was registered at the time of the fact that Mustafa Kemal Paşa who was sitting in the front at 12th March meeting listened to the poem by applauding afoot and was in a full excitement. Next day when the poem was being composed , Mustafa Kemal Paşa said that the verse of the poem which he liked most was “For freedom is the absolute right of my ever-free flag;
For freedom is the absolute right of my God-worshipping nation!”

After the Indepence War had been won,Mehmet Akif returned to İstanbul and he spent the winter times of the years 1923-1924 in Cairo as the guest of his close friend Abbas Halim Paşa.Because of the political developments in Turkey,he had to go to Egypt permanently from 1925 and stayed there for 10 years until 17th June 1936 when he returned to his home as being severely ill.



On his last 3 years, Akif spent his time at Cairo, at Cairo University where he worked as a Turkish teacher. Unfortunately the cirrhosis which was especially seen among foreigners who stays in Egypt made him ill and his situation got even worse. Due to his illness he had to go back to Istanbul on 17 June 1936.

Abbas and Said Halim Pasha families helped him a lot to recover his illness; unfortunately he died on 27 December 1936. He was not treated any special or official during his illness. His ordinary coffin was brought to Beyazid Mosque courtyard. Only the youngsters who had the news of sorrow rushed to the courtyard and covered his coffin with the Turkish flag and the Kaaba’s apron. After his funeral he was carried over shoulders until Edirnekapi cemetery.


1. His poems which did not take part in Safahat.

Mehmet Akif sent his poems to magazines of his age while he was attending to final year of Halkalı Baytar School (1891-93) He was started to known as a good poet by 1908 as his studies were respected by many poem lovers.

He personally terminated some of his poems as he didn’t like them anymore or he personally thought that they were not good enough to take part in his poem books. Today only a few of those poems survive in the notebook of some lucky poem lovers.

2. Safahat

Safahat is the name of Akif’s poem book with 7 volumes which includes 11.240 lines and 108 poems.

The first volume is called as Safahat. The other volumes also have their names. Individual volumes were published at different times and published with different names. Of those 7n volumes 6 of them were published in Istanbul and the 7th one was done in Cairo.

Here are the volumes, numbers and years of Safahat.

  1. Safahat: 44 Poems, 3084 lines, 3 Editions: 1911 – 1918 – 1928
  2. Süleymaniye Kürsüsünde: 1 Poem, 1002 lines, 4 editions: 1912 – 1914 – 1918 – 1928
  3. Hakkın Sesleri: 10 Poems, 482 lines, 3 editions: 1913 – 1918 – 1928
  4. Fatih Kürsüsünde: 1 poem, 1692 lines, 4 editions: 1914 (twice) – 1918 – 1924
  5. Hatiıralar: 10 poems, 1314 lines, 3 editions: 1917 – 1918 – 1928
  6. Asım: 1 poem, 2292 lines, 2 editions: 1924 – 1928
  7. Gölgelerdi Şiir: 1 poem, 1374 lines, 1 edition: 1933

Safahat was published in Latin alphabet in 1943. It has been published more than hundred times with its more than 500 thousand copies and can be called as one of the best known poem book among Turkish people.

Safahat in Turkish mean; ages, periods etc. Each poem collected in Safahat has been completed with a special poem measurement; the length of the poems may vary e.g: different numbers of lines, sections etc.
Mehmet Akif did not let the National Poem (Anthem) to be published in Safahat as he truly believed that National Anthem belongs to Turkish nation. Hence another well known poem off him that he dedicated to Turkish martyrs of Dardanelle can be found in another poem book by him called “Asim”




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