“Yahya Kemal is Key to Understanding of Turkish Literature”

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Researcher and writer Beşir Ayvazoğlu has given a lecture entitled “The Man Who Came Home: Yahya Kemal” to the Turkish Literature Summer School participants.

Ayvazoğlu talked about Yahya Kemal and the period in which he lived. Ayvazoğlu pointed out that it is crucial for them to realize that Yahya Kemal is one of the first things that comes to mind when a reference to Istanbul is made.

Ayvazoğlu described Yahya Kemal’s life and his return to Istanbul after staying in Paris for a while, noting that Yahya Kemal was very fond of music in addition to his passion for poetry.

Ayvazoğlu argued that it is hard to imagine Dublin without Joyce or Saint Petersburg without Dostoyevsky or Paris without Balzac. “Likewise, Yahya Kemal is so intricately identified with Istanbul that it is impossible to think about Istanbul without remembering Yahya Kemal,” he said.

Ayvazoğlu drew attention to the fact that Yahya Kemal placed Istanbul at the very center of his philosophy and he was a poet who interpreted the entire Turkish history and culture with reference to Istanbul. Ayvazoğlu noted that Yunus Emre Institute is an important institute. “As you know, the Spanish have their Cervantes Institute and the German their Goethe Institute. Yunus Emre Institute provides significant opportunities for those who want to learn Turkish. At the same time, the scholars who work on Turkey tend to visit its branches abroad. Therefore, I see it as an important effort for Yunus Emre Institute to bring the young academics working on Turkish culture and literature to Turkey and ensure that they learn more about Istanbul and meet intellectuals and writers living in Istanbul,” he said.