Turkey National Anthem: English Translation, Original Lyrics And History
|What Is The Turkey National Anthem: English Translation, Original Lyrics And History. Photo: Getty Images|
"İstiklal Marsi " ('Independence March') is the national anthem of both Turkey and Northern Cyprus. It was officially adopted by Grand National Assembly on 12 March 1921—two-and-a-half years before the 29 October 1923 establishment of the nation—both as a motivational musical saga for the troops fighting in the Turkish War of Independence, and as an aspirational anthem for a Republic that was yet to be established.
It is commonly sung during school and university graduations, as well as at sporting events, bayrams, and national festivals. State or public displays may also have visual representations, such as the scroll featuring the first two quatrains of the anthem that appeared on the back of Turkish 100 lira banknotes from 1983–1989. Only the first two quatrains of the ten-stanza anthem are performed.
A framed copy of the national anthem, a photo of Turkey's founding savior Atatürk, and a copy of Atatürk's famous inspirational speech to the nation's youth, delivered as the final remarks of his 20 October 1927 address to the Parliament, can all be found hanging above the blackboard in a typical Turkish classroom.
History of the Turkey national anthem
Due to the relatively unsteady climate throughout its creation, the modern anthem is the result of a multi-year collaborative effort by a number of notable poets, musicians, and composers.
The Ottoman Court was viewed as treasonous and complicit in the partitioning of the Turkish homeland following the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres, so the Turkish National Movement, led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, launched a lengthy campaign for independence against both invading foreign powers and the Ottoman Court itself, organizing a nationwide competition in 1921. The competition sought submissions of unique compositions that would be acceptable for a National March that would serve two purposes: inspiring the militia forces fighting for independence across the country, and celebrating the new nation that would be founded after victory.
There were 724 poems total. A famous poet of the time, Mehmet Akif Ersoy, first declined to enter the competition because of the financial award on offer, but the National Parliament eventually contacted him and urged him to submit a poem regardless of the reward. After being evaluated by a parliamentary committee, Ersoy's ten-stanza poem was read aloud in the National Assembly by representative Hamdullah Suphi on 1 March 1921, and it was unanimously endorsed by the deputies. The competition's grand prize was eventually awarded to a veterans' organization.
Twenty-four composers entered a subsequent competition to have their work considered for setting the chosen anthem to music. Due to the 1919–1923 Turkish War of Independence, the Committee did not meet until 1924, at which point they unanimously decided to use music by Ali Rfat aatay.
aatay's initial composition only lasted for a total of six years. Parliament of the Republic of Turkey accepted a new composition by virtuoso composer and first conductor of the Presidential Symphony Orchestra Osman Zeki Üngör in 1930. By 1932, the Turkish government had commissioned Edgar Manas (Armenian: ), a prominent Turkish composer, conductor, and musicologist (of Armenian heritage), to harmonize and orchestrate the melody produced by Üngör, and the anthem was complete in its final and official form.
Who wrote Turkey’s national anthem?
Seven hundred twenty-four poems were entered into a contest to determine which one would become the lyrics to the national song of Turkey.
The Turkish Parliament officially recognized a poem written by Mehmet Akif Ersoy, widely considered one of the greatest poets of all time. His poetry expressed his love for Turkey, his wish for peace and quiet after the war, and his firm belief in God.
To find the ideal musical accompaniment for Ersoy's lyrics, a second competition was held. The Council considered the works of 24 composers before settling on those of Ali Rifat Cagatay.
But, eight years later, a new piece by well-known composer and Presidential Symphony Orchestra conductor Osman Zeki Üngör was performed (you can watch the current orchestra perform below).
A Turkish composer and conductor of Armenian heritage, Edgar Manas, was commissioned by the Turkish government to orchestrate Üngör's tune two years later. The version played at modern-day state and military occasions, sporting events, and school ceremonies is Manas' arrangement.
Read More: Is Turkey In Europe Or Asia?
What are the lyrics to Turkey’s national anthem?
Only the first two stanzas of the anthem tend to be sung at public events.
Korkma! Sönmez bu şafaklarda yüzen al sancak,
Sönmeden yurdumun üstünde tüten en son ocak.
O benim milletimin yıldızıdır, parlayacak;
O benimdir, o benim milletimindir ancak.
Çatma, kurban olayım, çehreni ey nazlı hilal!
Kahraman ırkıma bir gül; ne bu şiddet, bu celal?
Sana olmaz dökülen kanlarımız sonra helal…
Hakkıdır, Hakk’a tapan milletimin istiklal.
Turkey’s national anthem in English lyrics?
Fear not! The red banner that ripples in this dawn shall not fade,
Before the last hearth that is ablaze within my homeland is extinguished.
It is the star of my people, which shall shine;
It is mine; it only belongs to my people.
Frown not, I beseech thou, oh thou coy crescent!
Smile upon my heroic nation once! What is this violence, what is this rage for?
Our blood which we shed for you shall not be worthy afterwards…
Freedom is the right of my God-worshipping people.
Lyrics video of Turkey national anthem
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