91th Anniversary since the death of Noman Çelebicihan

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February 20, 2009 year 17:50

On the 23rd of February of each year, the Crimean Tatars commemorate the anniversary of the tragic death of Numan Çelebicihan, the first president of the independent Crimean Republic, a Mufti of Crimea, a poet and writer. Undoubtedly, one of the brightest figures in the history of Crımean Tatars, who realized the long-term idea of an independent republic, where rights and interests of all nationalities were taken into account. It was very important change in development of national movement to self-determination of Crimean Tatars.


Noman Çelebicihan was born in 1885, in the village of Büyük Sonaq, in Çonğar region of Crimea. He received his early education in his village. Afterwards, due to lack of opportunity, Çelebicihan was sent to Gülümbey Medrese, one of the well known madrassas of that time. Later on he  was sent to Istanbul for further education.


Noman Çelebicihan arrived in Istanbul, Ottoman Empire in 1908. He attended Vefa Lisesi (High School) and later Law School. He resided in Karagümrük section of Istanbul where a small group of Crimean Tatar students lived. One of the first organizations he founded, while a student in Istanbul, was "Yaş Tatar Yazıcılar Cıyını" (Young Tatar Writers' Association). He founded this association with his friend Abibulla Temircan in 1910, and published his first literary works such as Qarılğaçlar Duası (Swallows' Prayer), Altın Yarıq (Golden Light) and Şiirler Cönkü (Collection of Poems). He was one of the original founders of "Crimean Tatar Student Association" and also "Vatan" (Homeland), which became the seed for the political organization Milliy Firqa (National Party) to carry on the independent movement in Crimea during the most turbulent period in its history.


After graduating from Law School, Çelebicihan returned to Crimea to get involved in the independence movement, and was elected to represent the Or region of Crimea in the upcoming historical Crimean Tatar Kurultay. He was one of the most popular delegates because of his young age and education he received in Istanbul. Soon during the historic opening of the Qurultay on November 26, 1917, Noman Çelebicihan was elected the first president of the young Crimean Republic.


Çelebicihan was not only the first president of the independent Crimean People's Republic and Mufti of Crimea, he was also a talented poet and writer. His “Ant Etkenmen” became so popular that it became the lyrics of the Crimean Tatar national anthem, and according to Şevki Bektöre (another popular Crimean Tatar poet), "... was sung for the first time during the historic Qurultay (1917)...."