Halide Edip Adıvar was a Turkish novelist and feminist political leader. She was best known for her novels criticizing the low social status of Turkish women and what she saw as the lack of interest of most women in changing their situation.

She attended the American College again from 1899 to 1901, when she graduated. Her father's house was a center of intellectual activity in Constantinople and even as a child Halide Edip participated in the intellectual life of the city.

After graduating, she married the mathematician and astronomer Salih Zeki Bey, with whom she had two sons. She continued her intellectual activities, however, and in 1908 began writing articles on education and on the status of women for Tevfik Fikret's newspaper Tanin. She published her first novel, Seviye Talip, in 1909. Because of her articles on education, the education ministry hired her to reform girls' schools in Constantinople. She worked with Nakiye Hanım on curriculum and pedagogy changes and also taught pedagogy, ethics, and history in various schools. She resigned over a disagreement with ministry concerning mosque schools.

She received a divorce from Salih Zeki in 1910. Her house became an intellectual salon, especially for those interested in new concepts of Turkishness. She became involved with the Turkish Hearth (Türk Ocağı) in 1911 and became the first female member in 1912. She was also a founder of the Elevation of Women (Taali-i Nisvan) organization.

After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, British troops occupied Constantinople and allies occupied various parts of the empire. Mustafa Kemal (later Atatürk) began organizing resistance to the occupation. Halide Edip gained a reputation in Constantinople as a "firebrand and a dangerous agitator." The British tried to exile her and several other leaders to Malta in March 1920.

After the end of World War I she and her husband traveled to Anatolia to fight in the War of Independence; she served first as a corporal and then as a sergeant in the nationalist military.

In 1926, Halide Edip and many associates were unjustly accused of treason. She and her husband escaped to Europe. They lived in the French Third Republic and the United Kingdom from 1926 to 1939. Halide Edip traveled widely, teaching and lecturing repeatedly in the United States and in British Raj India. After returning to Turkey in 1939, she became a professor in English literature at the Faculty of Letters in Istanbul. In 1950, she was elected to Parliament, resigning in 1954; this was the only formal political position she ever held.

Love this look? Get more styling ideas

Continue
×