A March Composed to Atatürk


My friends in Türkocağı and the Party thought of composing a composition to celebrate Atatürk’s visits to İzmir after being informed in this respect. I worked for two days and composed a composition like a march. The words of the march are here:

You make the people pleased by your visit,

You brought the independence to our country,

God bless you,

We pray for your health day and night,

Gazi (the veteran, one of Atatürk's epithets) had come, I was looking for an occasion to have Atatürk listen to my march. If I did not succeed, I would present the notes.

The occasion arrose on his last night in İzmir, the governor and his wife had organised a ball for him in their house. I gave the notes of the composition to the jazz band that would play for the ball. Rehearsals were done. Many of the families living in İzmir were invited the ball.

Gazi had come accompanied by high officials and generals at 10:30.

He was charming and filled the ball with his enthusiasm.

After opening the dance he went on a talking with his friends at the place separated for him. I was still trying to find an occasion for my composition and was very excited. I might find a chance to be with him for a while.

- Let’s listen after finishing the dance. He said.

I told the Jazz band. Dancing finished, a few minutes later the playing of my march started. The couples continued to dance on the dance floor. Gazi enjoyed this situation and said, smiling:

- Doctor how nicely your march has made people dance. Play it again, let’s listen after the dance. I congratulate you, it has been done very nicely.

It was not requested but Atatürk wanted to listen to it.

On a summer day I received a phone call from the Party asking me to prepare a march the lyrics of which should contain the themes of republic and independence.

I prepared both the lyrics and the composition of the march in three days.

It was decided for a girl with a beautiful voice to sing my march. We got permission from her family with difficulty. Then rehearsals were done.

Vasıf Çınar was also among the members of the parliaments who would come to İzmir with Atatürk. Atatürk wanted to have Vafıs Çınar listen the march before him. Vasıf Çınar listened to the march in the Party building in the afternoon. He thanked the singer. After she left, Vasıf Çınar said:

- This is impossible. This is an “Alla-Turca” (Turkish music).

I was disappointed.

- But sir this makam is Nihavent (a special harmony for Turkish music). It is one of the western harmonies. It constitutes a minor ordinary marching tempo. We got this girl from her family with difficulty, our effortswould be wasted.

He insisted:

- No, it is impossible this is Alla Turca(Turkish Music).

- Therefore should we play Carmen for the folk dance of Zeybek furthermore in Türkocağı (nationalist club)?

- It is different. It is special. He said.

There was no sense continuing the argument, it was possible to play the composition instrumentally without lyrics. Mr. Vasıf could not stop the jazz. Perhaps, I thought, I could have Atatürk to listen to the march. Atatürk came at night. He was walking around the hall filled with the guests and discussing with the intellectuals on the subjects of science, literature and social issues. He had started to talk loudly with a group in the middle of the hall.

I approached them to understand what he was saying, on which subject and to whom. Mr. Vasıf’s bright glasses dazzled my eyes. He was standing opposite to me in a higher place. Atatürk was discussing with Dr. Mustafa about a Germen philosopher. The Doctor was a person educated in Europe, but he was talking to Gazi priggishly and with abandon. He was not thinking about whom he was talking to.

I got bored and wanted to leave just when Atatürk saw me. I heard him say:

“Doctor”. He was calling me, I greeted him.