Sabahattin Ali

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Sabahattin Ali
Sabahattin Ali.jpg
Sabahattin Ali
Born (1907-02-25)February 25, 1907
Eğridere, Gümülcine, Ottoman Empire
Died 2 April 1948(1948-04-02) (aged 41)
Kırklareli, Turkey
Occupation Author, poet, journalist
Nationality Turkish
Period 1926–1947
Literary movement Realism, social realism

Sabahattin Ali (February 25, 1907 – April 2, 1948) was a Turkish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist.

Early life[edit]

Sabahattin Ali's sister Saniye Süheyla Conkman (1922-2017)

He was born in 1907 in Eğridere township (now Ardino in southern Bulgaria) of the Sanjak of Gümülcine (now Komotini in northern Greece), in the Ottoman Empire. He lived in Istanbul, Çanakkale and Edremit before he entered the School of Education in Balıkesir. Then, he was transferred to the School of Education in Istanbul, where he graduated in 1926. After serving as a teacher in Yozgat for one year, he earned a fellowship from the Ministry of National Education and studied in Germany from 1928 to 1930. When he returned to Turkey, he taught German language in high schools at Aydın and Konya.

Later years[edit]

While he was serving as a teacher in Konya, he was arrested for a poem he wrote criticizing Atatürk's policies, and accused of libelling two other journalists. Having served his sentence for several months in Konya and then in the Sinop Fortress Prison, he was released in 1933 in an amnesty granted to mark the 10th anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of Turkey. He then applied to the Ministry of National Education for permission to teach again. After proving his allegiance to Atatürk by writing the poem "Benim Aşkım" (literally: My Love or My Passion), he was assigned to the publications division at the Ministry of National Education. Sabahattin Ali married on May 16, 1935 and did his military service in 1936. He was imprisoned again and released in 1944. He also owned and edited a popular weekly newspaper called "Marko Paşa" (pronounced "Marco Pasha"), together with Aziz Nesin.[1]


Bust of Sabahattin Ali in his birthplace at Ardino, Kardzhali Province, Bulgaria.

Upon his release from prison, he suffered financial troubles. His application for a passport was denied. He was killed at the Bulgarian border, probably on 1 or 2 April 1948. His body was found on June 16, 1948. It is generally believed that he was killed by Ali Ertekin, a smuggler with connections to the National Security Service, who had been paid to help him pass the border.[2] Another hypothesis is that Ertekin handed him over to the security services, and he was killed during interrogation. It is believed he was killed because of his political opinions. However it is very well understood that he was killed by the government, through the National Security Service, because of his political views.[citation needed]

Sabahattin Ali's 100th birth anniversary was celebrated in Bulgarian city Ardino in March 31, 2007. Ali is a well-known author in this country because his books have been read in schools in Bulgaria since the 1950s.


Short stories[edit]

  • "Değirmen" (1935) (Mill)
  • "Kağnı" (1936) (Oxcart)
  • "Ses" (1937) (Voice)
  • "Yeni Dünya" (1943) (New World)
  • "Sırça Köşk" (1947) (The Glass Palace)


  • "Esirler" (1936) (Prisoners)


  • "Kuyucaklı Yusuf" (1937) (Yusuf of Kuyucak). Kuyucakli Yusuf was made into a movie by Turkish national television[citation needed].
  • "İçimizdeki Şeytan" (1940) (Devil Inside)
  • "Kürk Mantolu Madonna" (1943). (Madonna in a Fur Coat)


  • Tarihte Garip Vakalar (Strange Cases in History): Ankara, 1936
  • Antigone, Sophokles: Istanbul, 1941
  • Üç Romantik Hikaye (Three Romantic Story): Ankara, 1943
  • Fontamara, İgnazio Silone: Ankara, 1943
  • Gyges ve Yüzüğü (En. Gyges and Ring, Deutch: Gyges und sein Ring Rings), Christian F. Hebbel: Ankara, 1944[3]

In 2016 Madonna in a Fur Coat translated by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe: Penguin, London.[4]


  • "Dağlar ve Rüzgâr" (1934 - Second Edition 1943). (Mountains and Wind)

See also[edit]


External links[edit]