Nazim Hikmet

1902 - 1963

Nazim Hikmet is a famous Turkish poet and novelist of 20th century Turkish literature, usually defined as "romantic communist". He was born on 15th of January 1902 in Salonika, in Greece today. He wrote his first poem Feryad-i Vatan in 1913. He traveled to Soviet Russia in 1921 to study political science where he witnessed the Soviet revolution and influenced by communism. In 1924 he returned to Turkey and started to write poems and his views of communist nature, hence he was repeatedly persecuted and arrested for his political beliefs. He stayed in various prisons for approximately 12 years, and then he benefited from an amnesty law in 1950.

In 1951 he decided to move to Russia due to his political disagreement with the Turkish state, same year he was expelled from Turkish citizenship by a decree of the Council of Ministers and his years of exile have started in Warsaw and Moscow. He met his wife in Moscow and married there. He died on 3rd of June 1963 and buried to the famous Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow. His Turkish citizenship was restored in 2009, after 46 years of his death.

Nazim Hikmet influenced many of his successors as the pioneer of social poetry. He has dozens of works in form of poems, as well as plays, novels, anecdote, fairy tale, and letters. Many of his poems have been set to music by the Turkish composers. His poetry has been translated into more than 50 languages and won several prizes. Unfortunately his works were banned in Turkey between 1938-1968 because of his political views. Despite his persecution by the Turkish state, Nazim Hikmet has always been revered by the Turkish people and his poems are considered amongst the greatest patriotic literary works of Turkey.

UNESCO declared 2002 as the "Year of Nazim", as it was the 100th anniversary of his birth.