13 June | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Turkiye’s first envoy to Pakistan Yahya Kemal remembered in Lahore

Turkish Consul General Durmus Bastug, Yunus Emre Institute Director Prof Dr Halil Toker, Dr Rizwan Naseer, and Dr Abdul Rauf Rafiqui join opening ceremony of a four-day exhibition at Alhamra Art Gallery in Lahore

Senior government officials, academics, and art and poetry lovers have joined an exhibition at the Alhamra Art Gallery in Lahore to pay homage to Turkiye’s first ambassador to Pakistan Yahya Kemal Beyatlı – (1884-1958), who was a leading poet and author as well as a politician.

Besides Turkish Consul General Durmus Bastug and Yunus Emre Institute Director Prof Dr Halil Toker, Rescue 1122 Pakistan Director General Dr Rizwan Naseer, and Iqbal Academy Pakistan Director Dr Abdul Rauf Rafiqui joined the opening ceremony of a four-day exhibition to highlight the work of Yahya Kemal, whose writings inspired generations. Adviser to Caretaker Chief Minister for Sports and Youth Affairs Wahab Riaz also joined the exhibition briefly.

Stationed in Karachi, Yahya Kemal served as top diplomat to the then-newly-born Pakistan from 1947 to 1949. Highlighting work of Yahya Kemal as a diplomat, portraits were displayed on the first day of the exhibition, attracting art and poetry lovers. One of the portraits contained the message from Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Yahya Kemal at the time of his appointment as ambassador to Pakistan in 1947.

In his speech, Consul General Durmus Bastug thanked organizers for arranging the exhibition and providing an opportunity for the younger generation to remember the rich history of diplomatic and cultural relations between Pakistan and Turkiye, as both the countries have always stood beside each other in testing times. Sharing contribution of Yahya Kemal with the audience, he said that his work highlights his love for his motherland and humanity, and pointed out one of his poems that particularly depicts his love for Istanbul.

Turkiye’s first ambassador to Pakistan Yahya Kemal Beyatli remembered in Lahore
Exhibition at Alhamra Art Gallery in Lahore

Dr Rizwan Naseer expressed his views on relations between Pakistan and Turkiye and commended the services of Yahya Kemal. He said that sentiments of brotherhood that Pakistanis have for the Turk people have their roots in history. “We can see that our history is basically a story of cooperation, as we are friends and we are supporting each other in good and bad times,” he said. “Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with Turkiye and always desires to further improve these relations through people-to-people contact,” he said.

In his speech, Dr Abdul Rauf Rafiqui said that Pakistan and Turkiye had brotherly relations, as Islamabad had been always with their Turk brothers and sisters. “I can proudly say that we are two countries but one nation,” he said while sharing Persian poetry of national poet Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Calling Yahya Kemal a forerunner of Turkish modern poetry, he said that key objective of this wonderful exhibition was to reach out to the younger generation and acquaint them with the glorious history of fraternal ties.

Turkiye’s first ambassador to Pakistan Yahya Kemal Beyatli remembered in Lahore
Exhibition at Alhamra Art Gallery in Lahore

“Turkey has drawn our admiration for the valor of Turkish people and the way in which your statesman and leaders have struggled and fought almost single-handed in the midst of Europe for your freedom and sovereignty which is worth mentioning. Muslims of Pakistan will entertain sentiments of affection and esteem for your country, and now Pakistan and Turkiye both as free, sovereign and independent countries can strengthen their ties more and more for the good of both,” Muhammad Ali Jinnah had said on March 4, 1948 at the appointment of Yahya Kemal as first Turkish ambassador in Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention here that Muhammad Ali Jinnah is honored as a great leader in Turkey, and a major road of Ankara – Cinnah Caddesi – is named after him, while roads in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, are named after Turkiye’s founding leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as a gesture of love and attachment that both nations have for one another.