Kemal was born in Tekirdağ to an Albanian mother Fatma Zehra and father Yenişehirli Mustafa Asım in the Ottoman Empire. He was influenced by the growing national sentiment of his day, and published a politically controversial newspaper. When the government cracked down on the newspaper he fled to Western Europe and worked there as a translator. When he returned, his most famous work, "Vatan Yahut Silistre", which means fatherland, was staged at the Gedikpaşa Theatre in Constantinople on April 1, 1873. The play promoted nationalism and liberalism, and was considered dangerous by the Ottoman government. Immediately afterward, on April 9, 1873, he was sent into exile by the Ottoman Sultan and imprisoned in Cyprus. He was pardoned by Murat V on June 3, 1876, and returned to Constantinople on June 29, 1876. He later became the governor of Sakız (now Chios, Greece), where he died in 1888. He was laid to rest in Bolayır, Çanakkale Province on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
He was married to Nesime Hanım; they had two daughters (Feride and Ulviye) and a son (Ali Ekrem)
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- A History of the modern middle east Cleveland and Buntin p.78
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- Britannica, Istanbul:When the Republic of Turkey was founded in 1923, the capital was moved to Ankara, and Constantinople was officially renamed Istanbul in 1930.
- Encyclopædia Britannica Online - Namık Kemal article
- Encyclopedia Of Nations - List Of Famous Turkish People