Debate of Old-New
The Nâzım Hikmet-Peyami Safa Polemics
Kemal Ahmet's Case
Against the Accusation That He Had Turned Bourgeois
Against Leftist Pretenders
Against the Accusation that He was a Nationalist
The supplement, entitled "Milli Gurur" (National Pride), which was published after "Şeyh Bedreddin Destanı" (The Epic of Sheikh Bedreddin) aimed to prevent the confiscation of the book printed by the Yeni Publisher. But with this appendix, Nâzım also intended to make explanations to those leftists who accused him of being a nationalist.
In the five-page long supplement, there was a passage from Lenin cited in the conversation between Nâzım and Ahmed.
"Ahmed had finished his story which he had been telling to the rain drizzling outside, to the sweaty cement of the ward and to his twenty eight people. I said,
"Ahmed, I think you derived national pride from the movement of Sheikh Bedreddin.
"Ahmed picked the phrase 'national pride' out of my sentence and cracked it like a whip into my face and said:
" - Yes, I have, at least, a little national pride. Every conscious proletarian belonging to a nation capable of narrating an epic like Sheikh Bedreddin in its history, should have national pride in relation to this. Yes, the Sheikh Bedreddin movement is also my national pride. National pride! Do not be seized by fright! Do not let the combination of these two words scare you. Remember Lenin. Who can claim to be as internationalistic as is Lenin? What did Lenin, the greatest guide of the international proletariat, of the masses of workers in the world, of the international proletarian democracy, write in the 'Social Democrat', item number 35? [...]
" 'Are we, the conscious Russian proletarians, unfamiliar with the feeling of national consciousness? Of course not! We love our language and our land; we are those who work more than others in order to raise the life standards of the masses of workers in this land (which is 9/10 of the population) to the level of socialist consciousness. [...]
" 'We are saturated by the feeling of national pride. The reason is the fact that the Russian nation managed to create a revolutionary class. The Russian nation set examples of great massacres, row upon row of gallows, exiles, famines and submission to czars, pomeschicks, capitalists with degradation, as well as proving itself apt to launch the great struggle for socialism'. [...]
"After he recited these lines from Lenin in a trice, Ahmed became silent, breathed heavily, and with the usual smile on his face, said that,
" - Yes, I, the conscious Turkish proletarian, have national pride since our land gave birth to Bedreddin, Börklüce Mustafa, Torlak Kemal and those villagers from Aydın and Deliorman who struggled under their flag. I have national pride because the masses of workers in this nation (which is 9/10 of the population) managed to launch a struggle that had embraced the Greek sailor from Chios and the Jewish tradesmen."
By means of these words, Nâzım Hikmet supported himself with Lenin against those leftists who negated his views and valuated him as a nationalist since he had raised the historical value of the Turkish nation with a work like Sheikh Bedreddin.