If they ask who it is
Who stretches his arms over us night and day,
Who shows us the loveliest of days,
Who breathes new life into the Turkish nation,
It is Ataturk.

Whatever meets the eye,
The dawns that illuminate our country,
The weapons that terrify our enemies,
The shipyards, factories and merchants’ counters,
It is Ataturk.

Wherever one looks,
He appears divine in all places,
On the land, in the sea, in the sky,
The heart worships and is transported with joy,
It is Ataturk.

Turkish women teach their sons his name
Before those of their own fathers.
He taught us to take pleasure in living.
We are happy if he is happy.
It is Ataturk.

Faruk Nafız ÇAMLIBEL

A Cry for Atatürk

A land stretches from Edirne to Ardahan,
Doves fly over it on wings of grey,
From Ardahan to Edirne,
From Edirne as far as Ardahan.

There is a flowing fountain on the mythical Mount Kaf,
Whose waters are the depth of a sparrow’s toe
And take no pleasure in sleep,
But flow and flow.

The houses of Samsun look out to the sea,
There is seaweed in the streets:
They range up and down like Black Sea boats, lighters
And fishing vessels on the surface of the water.

I had a beloved from Kazova
Who could lead a man to sin.

The trains that cross the Savaştepe Bridge
Flood into Izmir.
The sea of Izmir is a maid, its maid the sea,
And its streets smell of maids and the sea.

This land is our country,
The loving heart rises to its greatness
And flies like a dove,
From Ardahan to Edirne,
From Edirne to Ardahan.

A horse-carriage full of petrol
Came to Amasya on a rainy day.
The next day, the gendarmes attached a gun to it
In front of the government.

General Kemal came,
Like fire in the heart of our nation.
He scattered the armies of our enemy before him
Like old socks.
What faith that is, Great General!
You went on your way to new battles
Before your horse’s sweat had even dried.

To the sound of flutes and drums
I remember you!
On train journeys,
I remember you!

I was just two years old
When the enemy entered Izmir.

I was going to come too,
But my mother would not let me.
‘You are too young, my son,’ she said.
I told her to let me go.
She told me that was the path I would follow.

Now I am older, and I have come.
‘Go, if that is what you want,’ she said.

It is he
Who saved the Turk from death,
It is he
Who gave the Turk back his identity.

The army he built
Threw back the enemy,
It is he
Who created the nation and the land.

His aim
Is the Turk’s desire,
His great heart
A homeland for the Turk.

With his soul
He gave us this country and
The republic
As a gift to us.

You are our father,
We take our name from you.
He who believes in you
Follows in your footsteps.

Let my country march on,
Let Turkishness grow.
You are Ataturk
Oh! Great Leader!

Hasan Ali YÜCEL


In the beginning I spoke the name of Ataturk
And did up my buttons.

How shall I say he is dead?
My Ataturk is before me,
He lies asleep in the snow,
His fur cap on his head.

How shall I say he is dead?
My Ataturk walks to Kocatepe,
Lost in though, musing,
His hand on his chin.

How shall I say he is dead?
My Ataturk is teaching At the blackboard,
White chalk in his hand.
How shall I say he is dead?

He has set out,
He is walking among the crowds,
His new hat on his head.

How shall I say he is dead?How?
A ray of light has struck his face,
My Ataturk is looking on.
Let us make ourselves presentable.


For Atatürk

You took us by the hand and we set out,
We liberated the nation, the motherland, my Ataturk.
We spread blind fortune, as they say, over the land,
Glory is the blessing of war, my Ataturk.

The mountains were like horses beneath us.
You cried, ‘Awake, Oh, Turk!’ My eyes were opened,
My face was washed in the waters of the Sakarya.
The value of the Turk was known, my Ataturk.

I hear the waves beating on the shore,
You would still have won our hearts
Had you been merely a general,
But you are the crown of this nation, my Ataturk.

Has there ever been your equal in bravery?
We did well to call you ‘Father,’
Your love is in our hearts, our fingers on the trigger.
You were the protection of God for us, my Ataturk.

Every Turk burns with the name of his ‘Father,’
Hears your command and resolves all other concerns.
This one consolation is enough for him,
The aim of being worthy of you, my Ataturk.


Great Desire

It is 1919,
May the nineteenth.
He raises his head from the reddening horizon,
He who gives soul to the land
And passion to the soul. The flame faced divine sun!
The prow of his boat tears the Black Sea:
You too must awake,
Awake, O people of Samsun!
The flame faced divine sun
Will dry the tears of despair in all eyes!
The smiling, rising sun over Çaltı cape.

It is 1919,
May the nineteenth.
Awake, O people of Samsun!
Sleep is death.
Hoist your souls,
There is a ship on the horizon!

But why does it approach so slowly?
Is it moving slowly? Has it a heavy load?
This ship is loaded with hope, belief and passion:
In it is the suffering bosom of the nation,
He who thinks of its tomorrows is coming.
A leader like the stars in the sky! That is why the ship is approaching slowly.

It is 1919,
May the nineteenth,
The ship on the horizon is drawing closer.
It is as if a wild flame
Is scorching our souls.
All hearts are suffering from waiting.
Is it possible not to be saddened?
This ship is loaded with hope, belief and passion.

As that hope spread souls are warmed,
As the passion spreads the veins are filled with blood,
Every heart that secretly suffers will come alive,
Like a stirring volcano spitting forth fire!

Our eyes were darkened from standing
Under your ever-growing shadow.
Run, speed, o ship. Do not let
The sea hold you back!

Plough through the white waves and come!
Fly like the birds, blow like the wind, and come!

Celal Sahir EROZAN

He Is Going

He is going, history will never see his like again:
He is going, but seventeen million people are following!

He is going, the mind cannot hold his infinite might:
He is going, the flag wrapped around his chest.

He is going, tears have formed in his footprints:
He is going, heads and swords are lowered on the ground.
It is going, the mane of that terrifying lion of war:
It is going, the torch of peace that flames on the horizon.
He leads, as if about to open a new age:
He is in the sobbing voices, in the silently flowing tears.

The glory of his soul transcends the mortal flesh,
Paints the grandeur of a setting sun on the horizon.

He is growing, as he descends from the sky to the land:
He is growing, as he departs from our eyes.

Yaşar Nabi NAYIR

His Voice

He speaks in our hearts, burning like the sun,
Words that will stand on the path of history.
Eyes flash with 20 million glances,
All the hopes of a nation.

Flowing through the veins of the nation like blood
That voice beats like a heart in every breast.
That voice wraps an arm of love around the nation,
And will dry the sweat of the yet unborn.

Like a steel wall breaking apart the wind
It will break through the gap of time,
It will burn in the furnaces of the factories
And engines will turn to the sound of it.

Yusuf Ziya ORTAÇ

I Am Thinking of Mustafa Kemal

I am thinking of Mustafa Kemal:
On a bay horse with a mane of flame
He passes the high mountains, the deep seas.
His gold hair waves in the wind,
His blue eyes burning bright.

I am thinking of Mustafa Kemal:
In the burnt, ravaged fields of war
He creates epics such as the world has never seen,
Great armies follow him,
Each soldier like Mustafa Kemal.

I am thinking of Mustafa Kemal:
Worth all the heroes of history
He rules the boundless skies,
A naked sword on a bay horse
He goes from victory to victory.

I am thinking of Mustafa Kemal:
He did not die one November morning!
He is still with us ,everywhere;
He lives in all parts of the land
In the veins of our hearts.

I am thinking of Mustafa Kemal:
His gold hair waves in the wind,
I see his blue eyes shining bright.
He enters my dreams at night.
I kiss his hands.

Ümit Yaşar OĞUZCAN

Mustafa Kemals Will Never End

Of course the stars in the sky,
The sand in the sea will fade away
This country, this land is generous.
I am a sacred flame that will never die
Believe me, Mustafa Kemals will never end.

Of course I was flesh and blood,
Of course I would die one day.
Know that there are two Mustafa Kemals.
I am the second, in the infinite
Invisible like a spirit.
Believe me, Mustafa Kemals will never end.

On the road to brotherhood and plenty
In the light of the creativity of knowledge
I am in the finest thoughts
In new, universal discoveries
I have done away with backwardness, it will not come back
Believe me, Mustafa Kemals will never end.

If you have woes, remember me
Feel me in your worst moments
Let not this country weep
In November,
The Conquerors, the Magnificents never die.
Believe me, Mustafa Kemal will never end.


Smoke On The Mountain Top

It was a foggy November morning:
The many and the few took to the roads …
There was smoke on the mountain top, my brother,
Day will never break, they said.
I looked, and saw the sky was empty,
Dark mourning enfolded the nation,
Every breast was full of mourning,
It plumed out of the chimneys.
I looked on a foggy November day,
A huge orphaned land
Wept and beat its breast.
Where did that edict come from, where?
There is smoke on the mountain top, my brother.
A black hand suddenly came in through the window
And turned the pages of history …
Gallipoli was thick with smoke and dust!
Samsun, Erzurum, Sivas
Sped past the nation,
Men held their breath and were amazed.
My hands, feet and head grew!
A sorrowful tune along the Sakarya,
My Mustafa points to the Mediterranean!
The carts carried faith, not bullets.
‘There is smoke on the mountain top,’ my brother.
‘The Gümüşdere keeps flowıng,
’A woe that eats away at us on November mornings,
A woe that burns!
The nation entered a new period of rejoicing,
Everywhere was happy and free.
All the Turkish nation held a ceremony.
All the nation was marching,
Ataturk at its head,
The nation was going through a revolution,
Striding the mountains night and day.
Was it the ebb or flow? Nobody knows,
One watched the far horizon,
One drew closer.
‘The Lord sent Ataturk to the world
To give the world a new miracle.
’That is what my one-armed grandfather used to say.
Mothers and fathers saw those dark days.
‘Allah sent Ataturk to us,
He has smiled upon us,’ they said.
Yet one day,
On a foggy November morning
There was smoke on the mountain top, my brother.
‘The day will never break,’ they said.
I looked, and saw the sky was empty.
Dark mourning enfolded the nation,
It plumed out of the chimneys.

I looked on a foggy November morning
He still beat in our pulse,
He was still alive.
That pain in my heart hurt no less.
A few frozen memories remained In my orphaned eyes.
There is smoke on the mountain top, my brother.
Smoke on the mountain top.

Bekir Sıtkı ERDOĞAN

That Endless Race

The hero set foot in Samsun today,
Meadows and pastures turned green on the path of victory.
Feasting starts to the sound of drums and flutes,
My heart jumps and sings on a branch of spring.

Offer poppies to the dream of Ataturk,
Lovely roses from the garden of labour.
We are in an endless morning … let him sleep,
Our joy makes his heart rejoice.

That song of victory set out from Samsun
Like a plough, from mountain to mountain,
Rearing up it raised the flag to the old post,
A fresh spring opened the eyes of the nation.

My red flag waves free in Ankara Castle,
Waving towards a golden age,
New heroes walk arm in arm
To the flag on those snowy mountains.

A garland for the free leader of May 19,
The season of cherries, the month of youth and roses.
Hearts are full of colour in a spring garden,
Look at that endless race all over the meadows.

Ceyhun Atıf KANSU

I wish I had the strength to write an epic
To be read with desire and determination,
I would sing praises to the end of time
Of our great commander-in-chief.

Tulips and violets open for him,
Every corner of the world speaks his name.
His influence carried to the rocks and the mountains,
I would sing his praises to the end of time.

In ten years he jumped centuries,
Open up the glorious past,
Made reading and writing easy.
I would sing his praises to the end of time.

If I live to be seventy
I saw the greatest thing in the last ten years.
Such a man among men was needed.
I would sing his praises to the end of time.

Tunnels were carved through all hard rocks,
We now go by train when once we walked.
The world longs for Ataturk.
I would sing his praises to the end of time.

One never tires of speaking of him,
It was he who gave rights to women.
They call me the bard Hasan.
I would sing his praises to the end of time.

I wrote this epic in mourning while driving the cattle
To the dry soil.
How can I praise such a lion among men?
I would sing his praises to the end of time.


The Last Letter From Atatürk

You still have not understood me,
And never will for ages to come.
You still talk about ‘19 May, 1919,’
And praise me and yourselves with stale words.

That is not how to understand Mustafa Kemal.
Mustafa Kemal’s cause is not one of words alone.

Let go that golden leaf,
Let the martyrs rest in memory,
Speak of what you have done for me.
Have you overcome poverty and want?

Bring me good news again,
Of new discoveries fit for civilized lands,
I want action from you, not words,
Do you understand?
Have you written the name of the Turk in space
With Ataturk’s capsule?

Understanding Mustafa Kemal means not being distracted,
Mustafa Kemal’s cause is not one of words alone.

Those sorrowful laments are still on your lips.
You still weep for me every November 10.
Wake up, I say. Awake, awake.
Other nations are exploring distant worlds.

Understanding Mustafa Kemal means being open,
Mustafa Kemal’s cause is not one of words alone.

If you love and understand me,
Spend your days in the laboratories, not the coffee houses.
Let knowledge and reading turn your hair white.
That is the only way to shed light on that eternal darkness.

Weeping is not how to understand Mustafa Kemal,
Mustafa Kemal’s cause is not one of words alone.

I brought you democracy and freedom.
But I see you are still where you were,
And you have made no progress.
You have fallen out amongst yourselves,
Instead of serving the people.
What became of electricity and plenty for our villages?
What became of unreserved smiles?

Simply hearing is not how to understand Mustafa Kemal,
Mustafa Kemal’s cause is not one of words alone.

I want you to catch up with developed nations.
Loathsome sycophants can lead nobody to science or art.
This nation, my beloved nation,
Wants you to work.
Put an end to self-praise and distraction.

Deception is no way to understand Mustafa Kemal,
Mustafa Kemal’s cause is not one of words alone.


This Is All I Can Write

A world collapsed, a sun went out:
Let the gods weep, let men weep.
The world has entered a starless night:
Let friends weep, let strangers weep.

There had never been such a man:
He came and changed the course of the world,
He departed, my God, what a departure that was,
Let tongues that come to life with his name weep.

Without him, eyes cannot see this world:
Let not springs and autumns come in vain:
They can bring nothing like him:
They overturn the centuries, let the years weep.

Let all feelings turn to mourning:
Let desires all turn to weeping:
Let the waters flow as tears:
Let the mountains, barren without him, weep.

It is as if everywhere were empty and deserted:
As if all things have been left abandoned:
Can nature live without the light?
Let the roses, that will not open without him, weep.

All was filled with his abundant love,
It was as if he breathed life into objects.
As the greatest suffering is expressed,
Let the roads weep after him.

There is no joy left,
It is as if nature were crying in mourning.
Let everywhere turn to a blue eye,
Let the seas weep, let the lakes weep.

Let the moon have no light, let the stars fade:
Let the wind stop to sob and beat its breast.
Let the waters be still and think of mourning,
Let the rivers weep, let the floods weep.

Let Sakarya beat its head on the rocks:
Let the Gediz and Kızılırmak burn for him.
Will only those waters weep?
Let the Volga, the Danube and the Nile weep.

Let the skies and the sun, the mountains and the snow,
The seas with their foaming waves,
The green plains of my land,
The steppes and the deserts all weep.

Aged eyes are now like fountains,
The world is too small for aged hearts,
Like the clouds that cover the sun
Let the fabrics that cover your portrait weep.

Let not just the sky, not just the mountains and the sea,
The land that forms our country,
For this great loss is not ours alone,
Let all the world and all lands weep.


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