Ceremony of international Bekir Choban-zade Awards took place in Belogorsk, Crimea on June 20.

The ceremony was held on the occasion of 121 anniversary of birth of Crimean Tatar prominent poet Choban-zade, among the facilities there were reports about life of the poet, performance of Crimean Tatar national “Jemile” group, lying flowers to his monument and so on.

Medal for “popularization of life and work of Bekir Choban-zade in literature, science and art” was given to Zarema Islyamova, while Adas Yakubauskas, Galim Sitdykov and Stanislav Dumin were conferred with the medal for “the best research in history, ethnography, and art of Crimean Tatar people”.

“For the ninth year in a row we give this award. We hope that we will raise Crimean Tatar people, the name of Bekir Choban-zade and the city of Belogorsk to higher level”- noted the founder of the award Resul Velilyev.

The event was attended by Crimean Tatar literature specialists, teachers, workers of art and Crimean officials, among them head of Mejlis of Crimean Tatar people Refat Chubarov, vice-speaker of Crimean Parliament Remzi Ilyasov and Belogorsk mayor Albert Kangiev.

“All that Bekir Choban-zade made for the future of Crimean Tatar people means a lot.

He made a lot to save our language and literature. That is the reason why his work will be investigated in future - head of Mejlis Refat Chubarov said. I call on you, my dear friends, to do our best to arrange such kind of event”- he added.

Note: International Bekir Choban-zade Awards was founded in 2006 by Resul Velilyaev.

Choban-zade was born on 15 May 1893 to a family of humble origins in Crimea. His father was a shepherd, and his last name means 'son of shepherd.' As a young boy, he helped his father herd the sheep, and these early experiences in the countryside left a lasting impression on the sensitive boy. Many of his poems are replete with descriptions of Crimean pastoral scenes.

Local Cemiyet-i Hayriye (Society of Charitable Works) sent him to Istanbul, where he completed his high school education in 1914. In 1916, he went to Budapest (Hungary) to enroll at the University of Peter Pazmany.

Choban-zade lived in Simferopol from the latter part of 1920 to the end of 1924. He taught Crimean Tatar language and literature at the Pedagogy Institute, and accepted the chair of Turkology at the Tavrida University in 1922. He also served as director of public education within the new government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea as well as in several other official positions.

The bibliography of his professional writings include 130 items. He had a remarkable facility with languages. In addition to Turkic languages, he knew Arabic, Persian, Hungarian, Armenian, Georgian, Russian, French, German and English.

In January 1937, Choban-zade was arrested for attempting to separate nationalist republics from the USSR; Pan-Turkist activities against the Communist Party and the Soviet government; involvement in armed struggle and terrorism in Crimea, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Dagistan; and working as an agent of the Turkish and Polish Intelligence.

He was executed on 13 October 1937.