Organized by Turkish World Municipalities (TDBB) in cooperation with Kazakhstan Ankara Embassy, Zeytinburnu Municipality and Kazakh Turks Education and Research Association (KATEAD), “Alihan Bökeyhan Commemoration Event on his 150th Birthday” took place on December 10th Saturday, 2016 at Kazlıçeşme Cultural Center. The program was attended by Vice President of TDBB and also Mayor of Zeytinburnu Murat Aydın, Istanbul Consul of Kazakhstan Galimcan Erimbetov, President of KATEAD Serkan Dinçtürk, Honorary President of KATEAD Yakup Can, President of Türkmeneli Human Rights Association Savaş Avcı, President of Iraqi Turks Association Mehmet Tütüncü, President of Afghanistan Turkmens Association Amanullah Gül and many other guests.

On the program that started with photograph exhibition, also a panel on “Alihan Bökeyhan and Alaş-Orda Movement” was organized. The panel, which was moderated by Secretary General of TDBB Fahri Solak, was attended by East Kazakhstan State University Faculty Member Dr. Kuralay Jirindinova and Kırklareli University Faculty Member Ass.Prof. İbrahim Kalkan as debaters.

Kuralay Jirindinova stated that Kazakhstan political history is directly connected with Alaş-Orda Movement, that Alaş-Orda Movement aimed to establish a modern state and for this reason Alaş-Orda Movement has great importance for the independence of Kazakhstan. Jirindinova said, “Alihan Bökeyhan struggled to establish Alaş Democratic Republic. He said it is important to protect the country for the land. He adopted the idea that economic independence is an essential thing; it is necessary to protect the national values, language and religion. He believed the indispensability of science and technology and defended independence in every circumstances. He always stood with justice and against injustice. Bökeyhan always defended equality, democracy and freedom of press. He was against the discrimination of gender, language and religion. Alihan Bökeyhan was included in Alaş-Orda Movement with many other scholars, legists and politicians, and played an important role in Kazakhstan’s becoming an independent and democratic country. It is an honor for me to commemorate Alihan Bökeyhan in Istanbul on his 150th Birthday. With these kinds of programs the ideas of scholars like Alihan Bökeyhan are resurged and our youth is becoming more conscious. I thank to all who contributed to this program.”

On the other hand İbrahim Kalkan underlined the fact that Alihan Bökeyhan has an important place in Kazakh political history and that he was a highbrow who struggled for the independence of Kazakhstan and also for its reaching to contemporary civilization level. Kalkan added, “Alihan Bökeyhan travelled around all the villages all the places in Kazakhstan, talked to the people and took the cultural, political and economic inventory of Kazakhstan. In this way Bökeyhan could learn the ideas and problems of the people. Later on he looked for solution to solve these problems and developed methods. First of all he established Kazakh Newspaper with his friends. Kazakh Newspaper became an important thought center at that period. This newspaper published hundreds of Bökeyhan’s articles. These articles indicated the problems of Kazakhs and offered solutions. After the revolution in Czarist Russia in 1917 Bökeyhan defended the idea that Kazakhs decided their own future and established Alaş Political Party with his friends in Kazakh Newspaper. The party members organized various meetings and congresses in Kazakhstan geography. Later on Alaş Political Party turned into Alaş-Orda autonomy and this thought of autonomy turned into establishing a free Kazakhstan State. Unfortunately Bolshevists took over the government and tried Alihan Bökeyhan unjustly and executed him in 1937 for being engaged in terrorist activities. He was pressured, put under house arrest for years but he held his ground. May God bless Alihan Bökeyhan’s soul, who sacrificed his life for his country.”

As for Vice President of TDBB and also Mayor of Zeytinburnu, he talked as “I am now familiar with Alihan Bökeyhan with the occasion of this program. We knew that there was the struggle of independence and presence in Kazakhstan but we didn’t know who played an important role in this struggle. With this program we learnt about this. As a result of this I think that this program is very important. I thank to all who contributed.”

At the end of the program, plaques were given to Secretary General of TDBB Fahri Solak, East Kazakhstan State University Faculty Member Dr. Kuralay Jirindinova, Kırklareli University Faculty Member Ass. Prof. İbrahim Kalkan and Honorary President of KATEAD Yakup Can. After the presentation of the plaques the program ended.