Noman Çelebicihan

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Noman Çelebicihan
Noman Chelebicihan.jpg
Noman Çelebicihan
Died(1918-02-23)February 23, 1918 (aged 33)
Cause of deathExecution
NationalityCrimean Tatar
Alma materIstanbul University Faculty of Law

Noman Çelebicihan (Crimean Tatar: نعمان چلبى جهان, Numan Çelebicihan) (1885–1918) was a Crimean Tatar politician, lawyer, mufti of Crimean Muslims, and writer. He was the first President of the short-lived independent Crimean People's Republic, established on November 26 (December 9 under the Gregorian Calendar), 1917. He is known for having written the poem "Ant etkenmen" ("I've pledged"), which became the Crimean Tatar national anthem. His early death at the hands of Bolshevik forces during the Russian Civil War is still commemorated in the Crimean Tatar nation.


Noman Çelebicihan was born in 1885, in the village of Büyük Sonaq, in Chonhar region of Crimea near the present-day city of Dzhankoy. Today the village does not exist and in 1948-68 was known as Chirik village within the Zavet Lenin rural council.

His father's name was İbraim Çelebi, a member of a well-to-do Crimean Tatar family. His mother also was from a well-to-do family, daughter of Cihanşah Çelebi. He received his early education in his village. Afterwards, due to lack of opportunity, Çelebicihan was sent to Gülümbey Medrese, one of the well known madrassas of that time, with the help of his uncles. Later on he was sent to Constantinople to further his education.

Noman Çelebicihan arrived in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire in 1908. He attended Vefa Lisesi (High School) and later Law School. He resided in Karagümrük section of Constantinople where a small group of Crimean Tatar students lived. One of the first organizations he founded, while a student in Constantinople, was "Yaş Tatar Yazıcılar Cıyını" (Young Tatar Writers' Association). He founded this association with his friend Abibulla Temircan in 1910, and published his first literary works such as Qarılğaçlar Duası (Swallows' Prayer), Altın Yarıq (Golden Light) and Şiirler Cönkü (Collection of Poems). He was one of the original founders of "Crimean Tatar Student Association" and also "Vatan" (Homeland), which became the seed for the political organization Milliy Fırqa (National Party) to carry on the independent movement in Crimea during the most turbulent period in its history.

After graduating from Law School, Çelebicihan returned to Crimea to get involved in the independence movement, and was elected to represent the Or region of Crimea in the Crimean Tatar Qurultay. He was one of the most popular delegates because of his young age and education he received in Istanbul. In 1917 he founded the Milliy Fırqa and later that year, during the opening of the Qurultay on November 26, 1917, Noman Çelebicihan was elected the first president of the young Crimean Republic.

Çelebicihan was not only the first president of the independent Crimean People's Republic and Mufti of Crimea, Lithuania and Poland he was also a poet and writer. In addition to his aforementioned works, his poems such as Ant Etkenmen (I've Pledged), Bastırıq (Prison), Ay gidi... (Oh for...), Savlıqman Qal Tatarlıq! (Farewell Tatarness!), Yolcu Ğarip (Poor Traveler), and Tilkiden Selâm (Greetings from the Fox) are his most popular poems. Ant Etkenmen became the lyrics of the Crimean Tatar national anthem, and according to Şevki Bektöre (another Crimean Tatar poet), "... was sung for the first time during the historic Qurultay (1917)...." His most memorable poem, however, is Savlıqman Qal Tatarlıq!, which he scribbled on the walls of Simferopol train station on his way to report to military service during World War I.

In January 1918, barely two months after he was elected to lead his nation at the Qurultay of the Crimean Tatar people, the Bolshevik forces invaded Crimea. He was arrested and imprisoned in Sevastopol. On February 23, a firing squad of the Black Sea Fleet executed him and threw his body into the sea.

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