türkçe links to original Turkish article
(HaberTürk Newspaper, 22 January 2017)
//ed. note: this item is part of a larger article by Murat Bardakçı
about the British burning the White House in 1814.//
"Another inscription, this one sent by the Ottoman government,
combines the works of two eminent calligraphers: an imperial tughra
by Mustafa Rakım's student Haşim Efendi, and an inscription in
jalī ta'līq script by Kadıasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi, the calligrapher
who wrote the giant medallions at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul."
I wrote about this subject once before but as the occupant of the White
House is now Donald Trump, I'm writing about it again.
You probably didn't know that our first and most lasting introduction to
America occurred 133 years ago and that the hero of that event was
Kazasker Mustafa İzzet Efendi, one of the greatest Turkish calligraphers.
The year was 1853 and the Americans asked for representations from
all the countries of the world to be included in a monument being built
to commemorate George Washington. The requested work would be
a marble inscription from each particular nation. The Ottoman representative
in Washington, Emin Bey, passed along the request to Istanbul and Sultan
Abdulmecid decided to have Kazasker (a title for a military judge or high
official in the Moslem judiciary) produce an inscription in the 'celî talik'
(elaborate and eloquent) style with the following message:
"Devâm-ı hulleti te'yid için Abdülmecid Hân'ın/Yazıldı nâm-i pâki seng-i
bâlâya Vaşington'da" (In order to express continuing friendship, the
spotless name of Abdülmecid Han is written on this stone to be erected
Whoops! Lack of funds and the Civil War interrupted construction
The Kazasker's masterful calligraphy was imprinted on a piece of Marmara
marble and the 'tuğra' (Sultan's ornate signature) was added. The work
was shipped to America at a cost of 390 kuruş. Construction work began
on the monument but it wasn't until 31 years later, in 1884, that the
Kazasker's work was placed within the finally-completed 169-meter high
So this is the story of Turkey's introduction to America about 150 years
ago. Sultan Abdülmecid's name engraved in marble has been in the
monument in Washington since then and Kazasker Mustafa İzzet
Efendi is now looking down on Donald Trump!