December 24, 1867
Istanbul, Ottoman Empire
|Died||August 19, 1915
|Resting place||Aşiyan Asri Cemetery|
|Alma mater||Galatasaray High School|
|Known for||Founder of the modern school of Turkish poetry.|
|Spouse(s)||Nazime (married 1890)|
|Parent(s)||Hüseyin Efendi (father), Hatice Refia Hanım (mother)|
Tevfik Fikret (Ottoman Turkish: توفیق فکرت) was the pseudonym of Mehmed Tevfik (December 24, 1867 – August 19, 1915), an Ottoman poet, who is considered the founder of the modern school of Turkish poetry.
Mehmed Tevfik was born in Istanbul on December 24, 1867. His father (Hüseyin Efendi), originally from the district of Çerkeş in the sanjak of Çankırı, was mostly absent, as he was exiled for being a political foe of the ruling regime; while his mother (Hatice Refia Hanım), a Greek Muslim convert from the island of Chios, died when he was very young.
He received his education at the prestigious Galatasaray High School and graduated in 1888 as the valedictorian with the highest grades. He later became the school's principal. His sister suffered a tragic early death. In 1890 he married his cousin Nazime, and the couple had a son named Haluk in 1895. He left Galatasaray in 1894 and started teaching at another prestigious institution on the Bosphorus, Robert College, in 1896, where he kept working until his death. In 1906, he built a house inside the Robert College campus for his wife and son. Named Aşiyan, the house is now a museum.
He was investigated by the Ottoman police numerous times because of his political views and writings, and his association with known political opponents of the Sultan Abdul Hamid II, such as fellow writer Halid Ziya Uşaklıgil.
Fikret is considered the father of modern Turkish poetry, emphasizing literary skill and knowledge over divine inspiration. Like many classic Turkish poets, he used his considerable knowledge of Turkish music in composing his poetry.
In 1894 he published the literary magazine Malûmat. In 1896 he became the chief editor of the Servet-i Fünun magazine, that aimed the simplification of the Ottoman language, where he worked with other Ottoman literary lumineries such as Halit Ziya Uşaklıgil, İsmail Safa, Mehmet Rauf, Samipaşazade Sezai and Hüseyin Cahit Yalçın. In 1908, after the Young Turk Revolution, he began publishing the newspaper Tanin, which became a strong supporter of the ruling party, the Committee of Union and Progress (Ittihat ve Terakki Cemiyeti, CUP). He was eventually disappointed with their politics, and returned to Galatasaray High School as the principal; however, during the anti-CUP reactionary 31 March Incident (31 Mart Vakası) of 1909, he chained himself to the school gates as a protest and resigned the same day.
He had projects for a new school and magazines, however, due to complications from diabetes he refused to treat, he died in 1915 and was buried in the family plot at Eyüp. Along with many of his avant-garde contemporaries, he contributed to the literary magazine Servet-i Fünun ("The Wealth of Knowledge") until it was censored by the Ottoman government in 1901. Fikret's volumes of verse include Rubab-ı Şikeste ("The Broken Lute") from 1900, and Haluk'un Defteri ("Haluk's Notebook") from 1911. Because of his very fiery writings and poetry in which he criticised the Ottoman regime of Abdul Hamid II, he was immortalized as the "freedom poet".
- "Rubab-ı Şikeste" (1900)
- "Tarih-i Kadim" (1905)
- "Haluk'un Defteri" (1911)
- "Rubabın Cevabı" (1911)
- "Şermin" (1914)
- "Son Şiirler" (1952)
- Charles Kurzman, Democracy Denied, 1905-1915: Intellectuals and the Fate of Democracy, Harvard University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-674-03092-3, p. 246.
- "Tevfik Fikret", The New Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 11, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1994, ISBN 978-0-85229-591-5, p. 662.
- Ayşegül Yaraman-Başbuğu, Biyografya: Tevfik Fikret, Bağlam, 2006, ISBN 978-975-8803-60-6, p. 17., (in Turkish) "Kökleri, baba tarafından Çankırı 'sancağı'nın Çerkeş kazasına, anne tarafından ise Sakız adalı, Islâmiyeti benimseyen Rum asıllı bir aileye uzanan Mehmet Tevfik (sonradan Tevfik Fikret) 24 Aralık 1867 tarihinde İstanbul'da doğmuş..."
- Mehmet Kaplan, Tevfik Fikret: Devir- Şahsiyet- Eser, Dergâh Yayınları, 1987, p. 63., (in Turkish) "Ana tarafına gelince: Fikret'in annesi Hatice Refia Hanım, annesi ve babası ihtida etmiş bir Sakızlı Rum ailesinden"
- Akyüz, Kenan. Modern Türk Edebiyatinin Ana Çizgileri , Inkilâp Yayinevi, 1995
- Yesim Gokce (Bilkent University)/Turkish Cultural Foundation
- Muhammad Rashid Feroze, Islam and Secularism in Post-Kemalist Turkey, Islamic Research Institute, 1976, p. 116.
- Kuiper, Kathleen. Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature. Merriam-Webster, 1995.
- Biyografi.info - Biography of Tevfik Fikret (in Turkish)