Poems by Sándor Petőfi in Turkic Languages

The winners of the international competition in literary translation, announced by the Foundation of the Adult Education College in Lakitelek and the International Organization of Turkic Culture (TURKSOY), received their awards for the first places during the ceremony held in the Ferenc Móra Cultural Center in Kiskunfélegyháza. On behalf of the Representation Office of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS) it was project managers Géza Gonda from Hungary and Kanat Ydyrys from Kazakistan who participated in the event, and later also placed a wreath at the statue of Petőfi on the main square of the town. Before this, Ambassador János Hóvári, the Executive Head of the Representation Office had met Sultan Rayev, the Secretary General of TURKSOY who paying a visit to Hungary on the occasion of the above ceremony.

During the event held on March 15, the National Holiday of Hungary, József Csányi, the mayor of Kiskunfélegyháza offered his greetings and reminded the audience that the Ides of March is one of the national holidays in our stormy history that is accepted by all Hungarians without any reservations. On March 15, 1848, the revolution broke out in Pest and Buda in unpleasant, drizzly weather. The news reached Kiskunfélegyháza on March 26. In the town, militiamen, and then national guards and soldiers were recruited for the freedom of Hungary. In Kiskunfélegyháza, as a settlement with a deep cult of Sándor Petőfi, it was already in 1861 that the memorial plaque of Petőfi was prepared. However, it was possible to inaugurate it only after the Great Compromise with Austria in 1867. The town continues to preserve this noble heritage, said the mayor, concluding his remarks.

Sándor Lezsák MP, the Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, briefed the audience on the details of the international competition in literary translation, announced on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Sándor Petőfi. Translations were expected to be sent from Azerbaijan, Kazakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Türkiye, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. All applicants had to translate the poem “Freedom, Love!,” as well as a freely chosen other poem by Petőfi into his mother tongue. About 500 literary translations by 100 poets from Azerbaijan and Central Asia have been sent in reply to the competition. The winners from each country will be able to take part in an eight-day tour of Hungary.

The Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament expressed his thanks to Secretary General Sultan Raev for the cooperation and support of TÜRKSOY. He also thanked the diplomatic missions of Hungary in Azerbaijan and Central Asia and the Central Asian ones in Budapest for supporting the project of literary translation. Sándor Lezsák also announced that besides the camps of literary translations, camps will also be announced for painters and graphic artists from Central Asia. He added that in the region the sense of being relatives is very strong. This is a capital of trust which has to be preserved and developed not only in culture but in the field of economic relations and sports.

In his remarks, Sultan Raev pointed out that Petőfi is a well-known, reputable and loved poet among the Turkic peoples. For this reason, TÜRKSOY pays great attention to the Turkic world commemorating the life and work of the poet of the Hungarian freedom fight in the dignified way that he deserves. The Secretary General emphasized that among the Hungarian and Turkic peoples, who have the same roots, the project of literary translation of Petőfi was extremely important. It has contributed to making the Hungarian poet even better known among the peoples that belong to the Organization.

The poem ”Freedom, Love!” was first recited in Hungarian by Bende Gombás. After him the winners of the competition – Ramil Ehmed and Baris Cavid Mövsümlü from Azerbaijan, Dauren Berikqazhyuly from Kazakistan, Toluk Bek Baizak from Kyrgyzstan, Dursun Ayan from Türkiye, Akmyrat Rejebow from Turkmenistan and Rustam Musurmon from Uzbekistan – did so in their own mother tongues and translations. The awards of the competition of USD20.000 were handed over by Sándor Lezsák, Sultan Raev, as well as József Csányi, Olga Szűcs, the President of the Tolstoy Society, and László Vári Fábián, the Head of the Literary Section of the Hungarian Academy of Arts. In the case of Azerbaijan, the first prize was divided between the above two winners.

The program of the international literary translation was realized with the support of the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the local government of Kiskunfélegyháza, the Association of Hungarian Writers, the Hungarian Academy of Arts, the National Institute of Education, the Petőfi Literary Museum, the Representation Office of the OTS and the Tolstoy Society.

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