MEMORIES OF ANKARA
It was the year of 1925.Everybody was very happy and joyful all around
The Tashan pastry shop and the Samanpazarı cafe were offering the guests
their familiar atmosphere, from the small officials to the general managers.
The most luxurious club of Ankara was the Şule Club on Ulus Square, where
members of parliament and the ministers gathered and spent their time.
Nobody was arrogant or haughty in this friendly atmosphere. Sometimes it
would be possible for a small official to have a dinner with a minister in these
places that were the cause of friendships. Sometimes a high official could visit
a friend living in a chamber in Öksüzce.
One night, we were gathered in one of our friends' house it and itwas nearly
midnight. The door knocked. We opened it. A policeman and a watchman were
looking for me.
It was formally reqested for the musician members of Presidency Music Fasıl
Group to make sure to to leave the address and the telephone numbers to their
houses wherever they went.
Promptly, I left for Çankaya. I had been in the music group only for three
months and I was about to get used to the district and the Çankaya villa. The
clear and the familiar atmosphere of the villa had dispersed my fright.
Atatürk was very cheerful that night. My friends arrived there before me and
started to play.
Songs and Gazels followed each other.
Atatürk’s dinner always took a long time and was sure to be ornamented by
A phonograph was used if the music group had not been called. And Turkish
music certainly was listened to.
My aim in insisting on singing Turkish music was to show the future
generations Atatürk’s love of and interest in our music.
Atatürk was also especially interested in western music. He liked some arias
of Tosca and waltzes.
Some people say that Turkish music makes people indolent. This is a big
mistake. I heard that through the manager of private secretarate Atatürk invited
the local musicians of Ankara and listened to Turkish music even in the most
(My note: I had heard about it, Yağcı Fehmi who was one of the folk dancer of
the folklore group that met Atatürk at his first visit to Ankara. He said that
Atatürk had invited them to the mansion to watch their folk dancing and to
listen to their songs. After the victory he had called the folk dancing group of
Efe (special to Ankara) and watched their dancing with interest.
What is more, he sang and danced the famous song and folk dance of “Misket”
of Ankara. Ankara’s famous musicians Genç Osman and Köfteci Cafer were honoured
people who played in the presence of Atatürk).
Atatürk told this story when he was cheerful:
They met a hodja (a teacher or imam) with a turban. Atatürk asked the hodja
some questions. Meanwhile a plane was flying in the air. Atatürk,by showing him
- Hodja, do you know how this plane flies? He asked.
- My pasha, I cannot know how this plane flies. Because I have not been
taught to know.
- All right. What do you know?
Hodja is ashamed.
- If you tell me to get in this plane, I will get in, If you tell me to jump
off from the plane, I will jump off without thinking for a second. I have just
been taught this.
Atatürk was very glad to hear thar and told the story cheerfully.
That night he became more cheerful when we were playing the songs and asked
us to play Zeybek. Şükrü Saracoğlu, Mustafa Necati were there and they are from
the Zeybek district ( Western Anatolia). These two stood up to dance the Zeybek.
They were dancing very well when we saw Atatürk start dance the Zeybek folk
dance. Everybody stopped to see how beautifully he was dancing and suited
himself to the male figures of the dance. The figures of the Zeybek were
suitable for his body. Everybody was watching him in a great entrancement and
this rapturous night finished.
(My note: Atatürk’s perfect dancing of the Zeybek is a fact. He was suitable
for folk dancing by nature and because of his physique. There is a nice example.
Accordingly, once he had danced in Artvin Bar with the Artvin dance group that
he had never met before).