Neyzen Tevfik

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Tevfik Kolaylı (March 24, 1879 – January 28, 1953), better known by his pen name Neyzen Tevfik, was a Turkish poet, satirist, and neyzen (a "ney performer" in Turkish). He was born in Bodrum and died in Istanbul. His name is occasionally misspelled as Neyzen Teyfik.


Tevfik learned Persian as a young man, and became a Mevlevi in İzmir. He then moved to Istanbul and continued his Mevlevi practice in Galata and Kasımpaşa. In 1902 he became a Bektashi dervish.

His interest in poetry influenced him into meeting with Mehmet Akif Ersoy. As was the case with many other intellectuals of his period, Tevfik's satirical poetry critical of the conservative sultan Abdul Hamid II resulted in his exile to Egypt in 1903,[1] which he later visited again between 1908 and 1913.

Neyzen Tevfik's fame in popular Turkish culture is mainly due to his virtuosity with the ney. Moreover, he was also a heavy drinker while practicing a form of Islam as it was common among Bektashis. He therefore is also a symbol of a clash between the orthodox Islamic doctrine, and the Bektashi order that he was in, as illustrated in the following translation of his writing:

The disbeliever's book has neither beginning nor end. A few pages from its middle is all we ever grasp. For religion's sake and fear of blasphemy we endure woe. Reason cannot perceive where righteousness may go.[2]

His religious views were highly mixed and tend to change in accordance with his mood. Yet, in his last years, he wrote a poem "Türk'e Birinci Öğüt" (First counsel to the Turk) in which a verse, regarding religious institutions mentioned before the verse, says:

"Varsa aslı bunların alemde siksinler beni."

(If any of these are true, well, fuck me.)

Therefore he can be considered a radical, if not directly atheist or non-theistic.[3]


  • Hiç, 1919
  • Azab-ı Mukaddes, 1949


  • Nihavent Saz Semaisi
  • Şehnazbuselik Saz Semaisi
  • Taksimler, taş plak.


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