In Memory of Géza Szőcs (1953–2020)

Hungarian – Turkish Literary Evening dedicated to Géza Szőcs in the Ybl Villa

A literary evening was held in the Ybl Villa which was dedicated to Géza Szőcs, the Kossuth Prize winner poet and a politician active in the field of culture, who was born in Marosvásárhely, Transylvania (today Târgu Mureș) and who died last November at the age of 67. The relatives, the friends and those who held him in respect participated in the event organized by the Foundation for Euro-Asian Cooperation and the Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States. The unprecedentedly rich lifework that Géza Szőcs has left to posterity was recalled by his poems, stories about his life, as well as melodies from Kalotaszeg (today Țara Călatei) and Mezőség (today Câmpia Transilvaniei).

On behalf of the hosts, the Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States, the guests were greeted by Ambassador János Hóvári. He reminded the audience that Géza Szőcs loved and understood Oriental culture. With his works and translations, as well as his political activities in the field of culture, he made a great contribution to making the literary works of the East known and popular in Hungary as widely as possible. His lifework and values are a national treasure that we must remember and must not forget.

On behalf of the Foundation for Euro-Asian Cooperation, Judit Tóth recalled that Géza Szőcs was deeply affected by Oriental culture. He did a lot, so that the Hungarian people could learn as much as possible about their Eastern roots that had faded over the centuries. In his capacity as State Secretary for Culture, he played an active role in strengthening the cultural cooperation between Hungary and Turkey, an outstanding episode of which was the exhibition of 39 paintings by Tivadar Csontváry Kosztka in the Pera Museum in Istanbul in 2010. Judit Tóth put the essence of the lifework of Géza Szőcs by the following quotation from him: “I support the Hungarians against what is bad for the Hungarians, humans against inhumanity.”

As the narrator of the evening, Judit Tóth offered a short overview of the difficult and at the same time exciting life of the poet, in the focus of which was the ceaseless struggle for the freedom, the fundamental human and minority rights, and the right of the Hungarians in Transylvania to use their mother tongue. During the literary evening, the audience was able to listen to the poems of Géza Szőcs both in Hungarian and Turkish. The melodies from Kalotaszeg and Mezőség recalled his roots in Kolozsvár (today Cluj–Napoca).

The widow of the poet, translator Zsuzsanna Gergely shared with the public her experiences of working together with her husband. In such a way, the evening became a notable cultural remembrance of the poet. His poems were recited in Hungarian by Bence Ervin Takács, a fellow of the scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Arts, while in Turkish by Laura Pál, the translator of the poems of Géza Szőcs. The viola was played by Vince Mészáros.

In his closing remarks, János Hóvári, while expressing his thanks for the colorful and thrilling contributions, emphasized: “This evening must become the first event of a series, since we must remember Géza forever.”

The literary evening and the translation of the poems of Géza Szőcs into Turkish was sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resources.

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