Curriculum Vitae of Dr. Celalettin Çelebi
Dr. Celaleddin Çelebi is the 21st generation grandson of Mevlana (See note 1). He is the son of the late M. Bakir Çelebi, who was the Postnishin (The head of religious order) of the Mevlevi Dergah in Aleppo, Syria. He is the grandson of Abdulhalim Çelebi Efendi who was the last Postnishin of Konya Mevlana Dergah, and also the first vice president of the first Parliament of Turkish Republic.
He was born in December 1926 in Aleppo. He attended to Galatasaray School in Istanbul for a period. With the A.U.B. language course in Beirut American University, he completed his education in French schools and with private teachers. Çelebi, who studied Law, was engaged in agriculture and trade for a period, turned over his business to his son, Faruk Hemdem Çelebi, and devoted himself to Hz. Mevlana and his culture.
After the Tekaya and Zevaya Law (The law related to dervish lodges and recluses), all the Tekkes (dervish lodges) and Zaviye (dervish recluses) were closed. For this reason, instead of the Konya Dergah, that is central Tekke of the Mevlevi, the Mevlevi Tekke in Aleppo was accepted to be the centre. M. Bakir Çelebi was then assigned to the Aleppo Dergah as the Postnishin by his father Abdulhalim Çelebi. Mustafa Kemal Pasha (Ataturk) was informed about this assignment. By the approval of Ataturk, M. Bakir Çelebi was sent to Aleppo. After his death, who was a rank Çelebi, Celalettin Çelebi who is the physical and spiritual inheritor of his father, has taken his place: the rank of Çelebihood. (See note 1)
After the end of the 1939-1945 war and the end of the French sovereignty in Syria, the new Syrian government decided to ask Dr. Çelebi Efendi to quit the Turkish nationality and accept the Syrian one. When this demand was rejected by Dr. Çelebi, the foundation, his movable and immovable goods, in short all his property in Syria was nationalised (See note 2)
In order to correct this injustice made to Dr. Çelebi, the Turkish Government gave nine diplomatic protest notes, three to the Syrian government, three to French and three to the English invaders of the war. Although, repeatedly it was reminded that according to the Lausanne Treaty, Turkish citizens abroad have the same rights and privileges as the minorities within the borders of the Turkish Republic, unfortunately all these official attempts had been futile.
Dr. Çelebi has a Medal of Independence through his grand father. From his mother side, he belongs to a family which is rooted in military for generations, he sees himself as both the spiritual and the national volunteer of the Turkish culture and endeavors to serve on this path.
Using a computer, Dr. Çelebi is classifying the works of Hz. Mevlana according to their subjects. In Turkey, he has joined mainly the cultural activities of Konya Selcuk University and many other gatherings. Among these, we can mention about his lectures in The Istanbul Festival which is organised by the Istanbul Culture and Arts Foundation each year. He gave a lecture called "A message of Friendship to European Nations" in 1988 at the gathering of the Union of European Chambers in Istanbul at The Ataturk Culture Centre. Another lecture called "A call to Unity and Togetherness" was given at the meeting of the European University Presidents, organised by Bosphorus University in 1989, at The Museum of Divan literature in Istanbul (The old Galata Mevlevi House).
Dr. Çelebi, who can speak several languages, mainly French, English and Arabic, continues to give lectures in many countries of the world. Dr. Çelebi had declared the year of 1990 as "The Universal Love Year of the World" at the UNESCO meeting at Paris in 1989. (His address can be found here.)
With the inspiration he received from Mevlana and with the selections he gathered, he worked hard to convey the human love and unity-togetherness to all nations without any discrimination of religion, race, sect and class. He was invited to Greece, Jordan and Germany in 1990, to "The Round Table" of Spanish television, to Sweden, to Norway in 1991. Before that, he has given lectures in several countries such as Pakistan, U.S. of America (California), Italy, France and Tunisia, etc. at different times. The matter that pleases Dr. Çelebi most is how people, whom he meets after his talks, express their astonishment and appreciation in front of the magnificence of our culture treasure. Within the following few examples, we can see that the spiritual messages of Dr. Çelebi have reached their aim on the international plane.
In 1988 an international gathering in Karachi, Pakistan, one of the listeners became exuberant and came to the stage and said: "I thank to Çelebi, he has created possibilities for me. We, all who belong to the Islamic States, have lived in our colonised homeland as slaves for years. The leadership of the Universe of Islam suits well only to one single nation. That nation is the Turkish Nation who was never accepted any foreign authority and has never become the slave of others."
In May 1991, Graz, Austria, after a lecture named "Messages from Hz. Mevlana" the Austrian Minister of Culture said: "Centuries ago, as enemies, your ancestors had come here to conquer our country. They could not succeed. I thank Çelebi for what I have heard to day. What your ancestors could not conquer centuries ago, you have conquered it by your culture to day. I present my admiration to the Turkish Nation."
On September 6th 1991, Wreclaw, Poland, a lecture was given and then a performance was made. On September 7th, this program was broadcast in parts through the day and then completely repeated at night. The explanation was: "A magnificent philosophy that unites all religions of the world. We have to adopt this philosophy as a nation. We loved the Sema, the music and the religion of the Turks very much."
Dr. Çelebi, who has picked the fruit of the endeavor of presenting the tolerance and rich culture of Mevlana to the world by his words, was given the title Honorary Doctor by Konya Selcuk University in 1989. This has honoured him and encouraged him to continue his national and spiritual services and accelerated his studies.
Dr. Celaleddin Bakir Çelebi died on 13 April, 1996 in Istanbul, Turkey surrounded by his family.
Note 1- Celalettin Çelebi has his pedigree published in the book Mevlana Celaleddin written by the Iranian Prof. Bedi-ul-Zaman Furuzanfer. This book was translated into Turkish by Prof. Dr. Feridun Nafiz Uzluk, with addition and published by the Turkish Ministry of Education, youth and sports- No: 486, Works of Science and Culture No:59 - Istanbul -1986.
Note 2- Archives of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkish Republic - Ankara (File of Celaliye Foundation.)
Dr. Çelebi's Legacy
Upon Dr. Çelebi's demise in 1996, his family established the International Mevlana Foundation to continue the his work and to conduct research on Mevlana's works and thoughts, and carry them over to next generations, not only in Turkey, but all over the world.
A list of current activities arranged by the Foundation can be found here.
Dr. Çelebi's father Abdulhalim Çelebi and Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK at Konya
"Ne zaman bu şehre gelecek olsam, içimde bir heyecan duyarım. Hz.Mevlâna, düşünceleriyle benliğimi sarar. O, çok büyük bir dahi, çağları aşan bir yenilikçidir. Mevlâna, Müslümanlığı Türk ruhuna intibak ettiren büyük bir reformatör."
Mustafa Kemal ATATÜRK