Yahya Kemal Beyatlı is a poet whose books were not published during his lifetime, but who became famous for his love for Istanbul after his death. He is a writer, diplomat, and poet who had very important virtues during the years he lived. He has served as a bridge between Divan poetry and modern poetry, did not hesitate to put his knowledge on paper, and devoted his soul to Istanbul.
His name before the Surname Law was Ahmet Agah. He was born in 1884 in Skopje. He finished primary school in Üslüp and studied at Istanbul Vefa High School. He wrote poems under the pseudonym, Agah Kemal during his high school years. Yahya Kemal, interested in the Young Turks, started to read works in French. Later, he could not stand the pressure of II. Abdülhamit, and settled in Paris in 1903. He started to study Political Science at Sorbonne University in 1904. In 1913, unable to bear the longing for Istanbul, he returned to the city he fell in love with. While teaching literature at Darüşşafaka High School, he got to know important names such as Ziya Gökalp and Tevfik Fikret.
He was among those who welcomed Atatürk in Bursa during the War of Independence. At the suggestion of Yahya Kemal Beyatlı, Atatürk was also awarded an honorary doctorate. Yahya Kemal Beyatlı was appointed as ambassador to Warsaw in 1926. He was appointed ambassador to Lisbon in 1930. He is known as someone who has produced quality works as a diplomat and poet. Although he went to Paris for bowel cancer treatment in 1957, he wanted to return to Istanbul in 1958. He died the same year in the city he fell in love with.
Yahya Kemal's works were made into a book after his death. In 1961, his poetry book called Kendi Gökkubbemiz was published. His other poetry book, Eski Şiirin Rüzgarıyla, was published in 1962. Rubailer ve Hayyam Rubailerini Türkçe Söyleyiş, the poetry book was compiled in 1964. Aziz Istanbul, a prose work in which he introduces Istanbul's districts and culture, was published in 1964.
His remaining poems were compiled and published in 1964 in Bitmemiş Şiirler. Other prose works are: Siyasî Hikâyeler (1968), Siyasî ve Edebi Portreler (1968), Edebiyata Dair (1971), Çocukluğum, Gençliğim, Siyasî ve Edebi Hatıralarım (1973), Tarih Musahabeleri (1975), Mektuplar-Makaleler (1977).
In the history of Turkish literature, he is referred to as 'the precious poet of the precious Istanbul' based on his work, Aziz İstanbul.