Omer Seyfettin

1884 - 1920

Ömer Seyfettin was born on 11th of March 1884 in Gönen district of Balikesir. He started his education in Gönen and later continued in Edirne and in Istanbul. After the Veteran High School, he enrolled to the Military High School and then graduated from the Military Academy in Istanbul in 1903. He joined the army with the rank of lieutenant and was assigned to various posts until he left the army in 1911. But when the Balkan War broke out, he was enlisted again and fought on various fronts. During the war he was captured by the Greeks and after a year of captivity he returned to Istanbul. He was the editor-in-chief of the magazine "Türk Sözü" for a short time. He was appointed as a literature teacher at Kabatas High School in 1914 and he held this post until his death on 6th of March 1920 in Istanbul, at the age of 36.

Ömer Seyfettin was one of the founders of contemporary Turkish storytelling and the "National Literature Movement" along with Ziya Gökalp ve Ali Canip Yöntem. He started writing while he was a student. His first poem "Hiss-i Müncemid" was published in "Mecmua-i Edebiye" in 1900 with the signature of "Ömer". His first story "Old Man's Delight" was published in Sabah newspaper in 1902. The poems, stories and articles he wrote while he was on duty in Izmir and Macedonia were published in various magazines. While he was taking a break from military service, his articles were published in the "Rumeli" newspaper and various magazines. He became famous for his articles in the magazine "Genç Kalemler" (Young Pens) published in Thessaloniki.

In his writings, Ömer Seyfettin argued that it is necessary to use a plain language that the public speaks and understands. He wanted Turkish to be written in accordance with its own rules and to be purified from Arabic and Persian words. He based his stories on personal experiences, historical events and folk traditions, which covered many different topics. His use of colloquial language gave his stories a lively and expressive quality.

After his death, his stories were compiled by various writers and publishing houses, finally reaching 16 books.