Fifth Conference on Pioneers of the Turkic World: Prof. Dr. Bekir Sıtkı Çobanzade

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Fifth Conference on Pioneers of the Turkic World  took place in TURKSOY Headquarters on May 18th, 2017, the anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars.


The conference which took place with the contribution of Prof. Dr Zuhal Yüksel from the Faculty of Literature of the Gazi University gathered the Chief Advisor of the President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Yalçın Topçu along with many guests.


In the  opening speech he delivered at the conference, TURKSOY Secretary General, Ambassador Dusen Kasseinov said that the aim of the conference is to introduce Bekir Çobanzade and his work to large audiences. H. E. Kasseinov further stressed that Çobanzade was a great poet and intellectual of the Turkic World whose contribution to the  unity of Turkic peoples has been unique

The Chief Advisor of the President of the Republic of Turkey who also delivered a speech at the opening of the conference stressed the fact that it is of great importance to preserve the  cultural heritage left behind by illustrious personalties of the Turkic World such as  Bekir Sıtkı Çobanzade  and added: "The anniversary we are commemorating today is unfortunately a sad one. It is the anniversary of a carnage and genocide which left deep wounds in the conscience of humanity. It is an anniversary which must never be forgotten. Let me first of all extend my gratitude to TURKSOY for this sensitive gesture. We must never forget what we have endured. Because if we forget what has been done to us, we will have to face it again. It is important to keep the memory of important role models such as Çobanzade alive. He was killed by people who could not stand his intelligence, knowledge, great personality, humane character and patriotism. Whatever happens, the next century will be our century, provided we stand up to our responsibilities. Let me take this opportunity to commemorate all our kindred people who lost their lives during the deportation from Crimea. May God never let such horribly painful events happen again.’’


Prof. Dr Zuhal Yüksel from the Faculty of Literature of the Gazi University  who also delivered a speech at the event gave some detailed information on the life and work of  Bekir Sıtkı Çobanzade and stressed that despite all the challenges he faced throughout his life, Çobanzade whose works are considered as the masterpieces of Crimean Tatar literature, never lost his Turkic identity.


The conference went on with poem readings  and folk songs performed by Akdeniz Erbaş and ended with a ceremony during which Ambassador Kasseinov extended the Medal of TURKSOY dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the independence of Turkic republics to the  Chief Advisor of the President of the Republic of Turkey Mr. Yalçın Topçu.

Who is Prof. Dr. Bekir Sıtkı ÇOBANZADE?

Cobanzade who went to school in Crimea during its occupation by the Russian Empire, graduated from secondary school in Istanbul and from University in Hungary. He received his PhD degree with a thesis entitled "Codex Cumanicus" which is considered as one of the most important works written in Kipchak Turkic language. Cobanzade then obtained the title of Professor in Hungary. The scholar who returned to Crimea later on  worked there as a teacher and Rector. Cobnzade who carried out political and cultural activities also published articles in newspapers and journals. This is the period when Stalin's political persecution started, forcing Çobanzade to work in universities of various Turkic countries, and more specifically in  Azerbaijan. However, leaving his home country and putting an end to his political activities did not save  this great poet and scholar of the Turkic World, as he was shot dead  by a firing squad in Azerbaijan.

Cobanzade's work includes more than 120 books and articles on almost all Turkic dialects and Turkic linguistics. He became a permanent member of the Caucasian Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in 1932, and of the Azerbaijani Branch of the Academy of Sciences in 1935. In the same year he became a member of the Linguistic Society of Paris.

Cobanzade's poems are considered as the cornerstone of Crimean Tatar literature.