Aziz Nesin'e geri dön



Aziz Nesin’s Biography


Aziz Nesin (December 20, 1915 - July 6, 1995) was a popular Turkish humorist and author of more than 100 books. His birth name was Mehmet Nusret.

He was born from very poor and deeply muslim parents and struggled through life. As most clever young boys without means he entered the military school; this was the only way for him to have any kind of education. After serving as a career officer for several years, he became the editor of a series of satirical periodicals with a socialist slant. He was jailed, arrested, detained, deported, tortured, beaten several times and under all governments for his political views.

Nesin provided a strong indictment of the oppression and brutalization of the common man. He satirized bureaucracy and exposed economic inequities in stories that effectively combine local color and universal truths. Aziz Nesin has been presented with numerous awards in Turkey, Italy, Bulgaria and the former Soviet Union. His works have been translated into over thirty languages.

He is most famous for his humoristic short stories. But he excelled in all forms of literature: poetry, plays, novels, essays. Apart from his talent to catch the contradictions of a developping country, he is known as a honest man who stood behind his ideas.

In 1972, he founded the Nesin Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to take, each year, four poor and destitute children into the Foundation's home and provide every necessity - shelter, education and training, starting from elementary school - until they complete high school, a trade school, or until they acquire a vocation. Aziz Nesin has donated to the Nesin Foundation his copyrights in their entirety for all his works in Turkey or other countries, including all of his published books, all plays to be staged, all copyrights for films, and all his works performed or used in radio or television. Today, the foundation is taken care by his son Ali Nesin and is the home of 46 children and youngsters.

Aziz Nesin was a political activist. After the military coup led by Kenan Evren in 1980, the entire country, including intellectuals, were under strong oppression. Aziz Nesin led a number of intellectuals to an oppositionary action against the military government, known as “Aydinlar Dilekçesi” (Petition of Intellectuals). In the last years of his life, he devoted himself to fight against ignorance and religious fundamentalism.

He championed free speech, especially the right to criticize fundamentalist Islam without compromise. In early 1990’s he started a translation of Salman Rushdie's controversial novel, Satanic Verses. This made him a target for radical Islamist organizations who were gaining popularity throughout Turkey. On July 2nd, 1993 while attending a cultural festival in eastern Anatolian city of Sivas a big mob organized by radical Islamists gathered around the Madimak Hotel at which he was staying, calling for the Islamic Law and death to infidels. After hours of siege to the hotel and failure of police and military to intervene, the mob set the hotel on fire. After flames took over several of the lower levels of the hotel, the firefighter trucks managed to get close to the Hotel and Aziz Nesin and many guests of the hotel escaped. However not everyone was so lucky and 37 people staying at the Madimak Hotel lost their lives in the fire that day. This event was one of the most tragic assault on free speech and human rights in recent Turkish history and it deepened the rift between religious and secular minded people in Turkey.

After his death, his body was buried into an unknown location in the land of Nesin Foundation without any ceremony, as suggested by his will.



1956. Golden Palm (Italy).

1957. Golden Palm (Italy).

1958. Third place at a humoristic story contest in İtaly

1959. Best article prize by the Association of Journalists.

1966. Golden Hedgehog Prize, (Bulgaria).

1968. First Prize at the Karacan Play Contest.

1969. Golden Crocodile, (Soviet Union).

1970. Best Play Prize of the Academy of  Turkish

1975. Lotus Prize (The Union of African-Asian Writers)

1986. Selected the “Writer of the Year” by the Turkish people (Tüyap)

1990. Golden Tolstoi Prize

1990. Vienna Theater Prize

1991. Received the title of Chevalier by the French government

1991. Democracy Prize by the School of Political Sciences (Ankara University)

1992. Honorary Prize and Golden Medal from the Association of Authors

1992. Abdi İpekçi Prize of Peace and Friendship (Turkey-Greece)

1992. Medal of Gratitude from the Association of Journalists

1993. Carl Von Ossietzky Prize

1994. CPJ International Press Freedom Award (USA).

1994. Human Rights Prize.

1995. Orhan Apaydın Democracy and Peace Prize

1995. Prize of the Hiroshima Foundation



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