The government is willing to bring the remains of the legendary poet Nazım Hikmet back to Turkey, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Jan. 16.
Speaking at parliament on the late Hikmet’s 115th birthday, Bozdağ praised him as “one of the greatest poets that Turkey has raised,” noting that they wanted to honor him by burying him in Turkey.
Imprisoned for many years in Turkey due to political views expressed in his poems, Nazım died in exile in the Soviet Union after suffering a heart attack in 1963. His body is currently buried in the famous Novodevichy Cemetery in Moscow, among many other “Russian literary giants.
He was stripped off his Turkish citizenship due to his political views in 1951, but was re-granted his citizenship in 2009.
“We wish that he, after living in his country, could have died in his country and was laid to rest in his country … We would like to express that we want Nazım Hikmet’s remains to be in Turkey, as the government. We do not have any problem regarding this,” said Bozdağ in parliament, while adding that Hikmet’s family want to keep his remains interred in Moscow.
“His relatives have put up a will on keeping his tomb in Moscow. That is why he is not in Turkey now. If his relatives demand, we would of course bring him to Turkey. We would love to do that,” Bozdağ added.