Within the scope of the 100th Anniversary of Albania-Türkiye Diplomatic Relations, UNYT organized the Open Panel “Re-Understanding The National Anthem’s Poet, Mehmet Akif Ersoy”.
The panel was attended by high-profile personalities of Turkish Institutions, such as; His Excellency Mr. Tayyar Kağan ATAY – Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye to Albania, Prof. Dr. Erkan ERDEMIR – UNYT Rector, Mr. Mesut ÖZBAYSAR – Country Representative of TMF, Mr. Metin BULUT – The Education Counselor of Türkiye, Dr. R. Feridun ELGÜN – Administrator of UNYT and Mr. Hasan DEDE – New York Schools Director.
The panel was composed of Leyla Şerif Emin, UNYT Vice-Rector for International Affairs Assoc. Prof. Ilir Kalemaj, Shasivar Kabashi PhD. and Assoc. Prof. Lindita Xhanari Latifi.
In his opening speech, Rector Erdemir stated that:
Mehmet Akif Ersoy’s importance is essential for both the Albanian and Turkish realms. We, as UNYT, share our pride in organizing today the panel that commemorates the extraordinary life of a great man.
In his welcoming speech, the Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye to Albania, H.E. Mr. Tayyar Kağan ATAY, stated that:
Türkiye has faced a great challenge with the earthquake disaster. We offer our condolences to the families who lost their precious ones. We also want to convey our gratitude to our brother country, Albania, which unconditionally supports us. Mehmet Akif Ersoy is one of the pillars of the strong relationship between our two nations.
In remarks from the panel, UNYT Vice-Rector for International Affairs Assoc. Prof. Ilir Kalemaj stated:
“Together with one of the most important acts for the foundation of the Republic, the composition of the new National Anthem of the Turkish Republic, Mehmet Akif Ersoy played the same role for Türkiye as Dante for newly created Italy, Martin Luther for the unification of Prussia and later German nation-state and other luminaries across Europe.
The poet in the panel Ms. Leyla Şerif Emin stated:
While writing this topic, I saw the anthems of many countries, Akif’s national anthem is not only an anthem, but it is a poem adorned with national consciousness. The name of Türkiye is not mentioned in the poem; the Turks are not; the homeland and the nation replace them. So anyone of any nationality who reads it can identify themselves. In this poem, there are messages that society and the country give to each other. The country speaks to its people, and the people speak to the country.
The historian Shasivar Kabashi PhD. stated:
It is understandable that the figure of Mehmet Akif is the meeting point of two modern identities of two predominantly Muslim peoples, Albanians and Turks. His figure remains a valuable relic of the religious segment, always reminding of spiritual values and virtues for Albanian nationalism as well as for Turkish nationalism. Akif is an “Impassable Çanakkale” for his Turkish and Albanian enemies. Akif continues to be the strongest fraternal link between both peoples.
The latest remarks were given by the Director of the UNYT Balkan Research Institute Assoc. Prof. Lindita Xhanari Latifi who stated that:
Mehmet Akif Ersoy is a poet who is very prominent and followed in the Turkish world due to his sensitive and emotional poems. The main themes of his poems are Patriotism, Faith, Humanism, Struggle for Freedom and Love.
Mehmet Akif Ersoy’s poetry was beautifully performed by the Maarif Schools Albania students.