Turkey’s ‘İstiklâl Marşı’: More Than Just An National Anthem

Turkey’s national anthem, known as “İstiklâl Marşı” in Turkish, holds a special place in the hearts of the Turkish people. It is a powerful symbol of national identity and unity, representing the country’s struggle for independence and its rich cultural heritage. The anthem, written by Mehmet Akif Ersoy and composed by Osman Zeki Üngör, was officially adopted as the national anthem of Turkey on March 12, 1921.

Turkish National Anthem
Photo by Tolga Ahmetler on Unsplash


The original lyrics of the Turkish national anthem are a stirring tribute to the courage and resilience of the Turkish people. Here is the complete version:

Korkma, sönmez bu şafaklarda yüzen al sancak;
Sönmeden yurdumun üstünde tüten en son ocak.
O benim milletimin yıldızıdır, parlayacak;
O benimdir, o benim milletimindir ancak!

Çatma, kurban olayım, çehreni ey nazlı hilal!
Kahraman ırkıma bir gül… ne bu şiddet, bu celal?
Sana olmaz dökülen kanlarımız sonra helal…
Hakkıdır, Hakk’a tapan, milletimin istiklal!

Ben ezelden beridir hür yaşadım, hür yaşarım.
Hangi çılgın bana zincir vuracakmış? Şaşarım!
Kükremiş sel gibiyim; bendimi çiğner, aşarım.
Yırtarım dağları, enginlere sığmam, taşarım.

Garb’ın âfâkını sarmışsa çelik zırhlı duvar;
Benim iman dolu göğsüm gibi serhaddim var.
Ulusun, korkma! Nasıl böyle bir îmânı boğar,
‘Medeniyet!’ dediğin tek dişi kalmış canavar?


The Turkish national anthem holds immense significance for the Turkish people. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by their ancestors during the War of Independence, and the determination to build a strong and independent nation. The anthem’s lyrics encapsulate the spirit of patriotism, bravery, and unity, inspiring generations of Turks to uphold these values.

Historical Context

The composition of the national anthem took place during a crucial period in Turkish history. Mehmet Akif Ersoy, the poet behind the lyrics, wrote them in 1921, when the country was still fighting for its independence. The anthem became a rallying cry for the Turkish people, motivating them to continue their struggle against foreign powers and to protect their homeland.

Contemporary Relevance

Even today, the Turkish national anthem remains a powerful symbol of national pride and unity. It is sung with great passion and reverence on various occasions, including national holidays, sporting events, and official ceremonies. The anthem serves as a reminder of Turkey’s rich history and cultural heritage, fostering a sense of belonging and loyalty among its citizens.

Furthermore, the Turkish national anthem has been adapted and performed by many artists in different musical styles, reflecting the diverse and vibrant nature of Turkish society. This contemporary relevance ensures that the anthem continues to resonate with the younger generation, keeping the spirit of patriotism alive.

In conclusion, the Turkish national anthem, with its inspiring lyrics and historical significance, is a testament to the strength and resilience of the Turkish people. It serves as a unifying force, reminding Turks of their shared values and heritage. Whether sung by a single voice or a chorus, the anthem continues to evoke a sense of pride and patriotism in the hearts of all who hear it.


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