Nazim Hikmet tea garden in Kadikoy. Photo: Slawomira Kozieniec

Beloved Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet (1902-1963), who rests in a cemetery in Moscow, will be honoured with an exhibition in Istanbul. That is something special, because for many years his poetry was banned in his native Turkey.

Although he was a great patriot he was also seen as an enemy of the state, because he was a communist who supported the struggle of the workers for more rights and better pay. Most of his adult life he was in prisons and in exile. The state robbed him of his citizenship! That was only returned to him in 2009, 46 years after he died in exile in Moscow.

M. Melih Güneş, a close friend of Nazim’s lover Vera Tulyakova, plans to display photos of the poet he took during his long years in the Soviet Union as well as a number of unpublished poems. The exhibition will open January 19 at the Istanbul Chamber of Architects’ Büyükkent Branch in Beşiktaş (TMMOB Mimarlar Odası İstanbul Büyükkent Şubesi, Sarayı Dış Karakol Binası, Barbaros Bulvar, Tel 0212 227 6910) and will run through February 5.

Güneş complained to the Hürriyet Daily News that Turkey still is not doing anything to further rehabilitate Nazim Hikmet and promote and protecting his legacy. There have been requests from his supporters to bring his remains to Turkey where he wanted to be buried. But his family does not want this. “Turkey should open a museum-institute in his name to preserve what he left behind,” Güneş said.

Read more on the exhibition from the Hürriyet Daily News

Anybody who wants to experience some of the atmosphere of Nazim Hikmet, visit the Nazim Hikmet Culture Center in Kadiköy, which has a very nice and quit tea garden with painted potraits of the poet. It is close to the Catholic Armenian church on Bahariye Caddesi.