A Letter to Atatürk From a Gentlemen Named Mr. Sıtkı


Mr. Rasim Özgen, one of Atatürk’s school friends narrated this following memory of his:

“Atatürk had mentioned the “Yemen Türküsü” (a Turkish folk song) that he had heard from Mr. Adanalı (from Adana) Sıtkı and his wife. “How deeply those songs impressed me and I had İsmet İnönü listen. He wailed loudly.” Atatürk wanted to have country listen to the songs that he heard from Sıtkı and his wife with his instruments of ud (resembling the lute) and tambur from the radios of Istanbul and Ankara.

- Mr. Sıtkı please go and give concerts in each of Ankara and Istanbul radios.

Turkish music was prohibited those days by a misunderstanding of Atatürk’s words reemerging. At the time an occurrence was told his love of music and musicians.

“ Adanalı Sıtkı Bey (Mr. Stıkı from Adana) came to Istanbul before being acquainted with Atatürk. He had done his military service during the National War of Independence after graduating from veterinary school. After the war he was released from the army and preferred the professions of teacher and author.

He became a specialist in music by the influence of his wife, a singer. He took his compositions in Turkish music style to a record company. But the man from the company informed him that Turkish music had been prohibited and told him he could not accept his compositions. He was depressed and disappointed and wrote a reproachful letter to Atatürk on an ordinary page of a notebook. He gave a general idea and composition examples of the old music masters and criticised the prohibition of Turkish music.

A few days later, Mr. Sıtkı learned by the police station that he had been invited to Dolmabahçe palace.

If we think about the situation, there is a reproachful letter on an ordinary piece of paper from a notebook and the writer is a composer. Please note Atatürk’s great tolerance and love of musicians. He accepted him to his presence and even complemented him.

There is no doubt that Turkish music had a place within the reforms he wanted to realise. The aim of this reform was to improve and apply our national values up to a real artistic level.

Atatürk did not only like the Rumelian songs as it was told or supposed by some of the people. Rumelia songs had been the memory of his youth. Of course he would like them but Atatürk liked to listen the real precious Turkish music,he even sang sometimes.

He had a special style in singing that was approved of according to the Turkish music rules. Especially, he sang them in due course of the stories that are the music originate from.