İstanbul, the former capital city of the East Roman Empire and the Ottoman Empire, is the biggest and most complex city in Turkey - not only reflecting the cultural plurality of Anatolia and the Balkans but also nourishing political contradictions and social differences. Since the first Greek settlers visited, İstanbul has been a shelter for artists of various kinds such as architect Sinan or Ottoman poet Fuzuli.
Most of the foremost writers of modern Turkish literature have lived in İstanbul at some point in their life. Nâzım Hikmet (1902-1963), the great poet of Turkish language, not only wrote some of his masterpieces in İstanbul, but also for İstanbul. The short story writer Sait Faik (1906-1954) was also incredibly enthusiastic about the city.
The poetry scene has a vivacious atmosphere filled with debates and polemics. Through this dynamic comes a lively aura of controversy. Major figures from different political and poetical tendencies are poets such as Ahmet Oktay (1933-), Hilmi Yavuz (1936-), Refik Durbaş (1942-) and the younger generation including Haydar Ergülen (1956-) and Mustafa Köz (1959-).
As a result of migration to İstanbul, prose written in the city has a multi-dimensional cultural quality, with all the regions in Turkey represented. Novelists and story writers have a wide range of interests, from detailed descriptions of the daily life of the working classes to the expressionist narration of an estranged individual in the city. Yaşar Kemal (1923-), Leyla Erbil (1931-), Tahsin Yücel (1933-) have already taken their place in the history of Turkish literature. Latife Tekin (1957) and Murat Uyurkulak (1972) are also key figures.
Written by Efe Duyan
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