Mufide Ferit Tek who used the signature of Sevim Bike – was born in Kastamonu, on 29 April 1892. Her father is Sir Sevket who was the son Mazhar Pasha of the Kemah and her mother is Lady Feride who was the daughter of Mister Zaimzade Ismail who was among the martyrs of Plevne. She was educated in Italian Convent School in Tripoli. Alonside Italian and French, she got private tutoring to learn Arabic and Persian. In 1903, while she was 11 years old, she was sent to Paris and she enrolled the Versailles High School.
When she was 11, she was engaged with Sir Ahmed. In 1907, they got married. The rest of life of Lady Mufide was spent in various cities and countries, where her husband was either in exile or on duty. In 1908, with the proclamation of Second Constitutional Monarchy, they returned Istanbul. Mufide Ferit Tek orated in some conferences in Turk Associations; also she wrote in the magazines called “Türk Yurdu: Turk Country” and “Sehbal” with the nickname Sevim Bike.
In 1913, she was sent to exile in Sinop. Until 1918, they stayed in Sinop and Bilecik. At that time, Lady Mufide wrote her first novel “Aydemir” and made it published in 1918 when the war was over. Just after the proclamation of the Constitutional Monarchy, in the novel it is told that “Aydemir” the hero of the novel goes to Russia to “give awereness to our cognate fellows” in the Central Asia even before the Tripoli War. Murat Belge, assuming from this fact, says that Mufide Ferit Tek finished her story at the beginning of the war though she wrote the novel at the end of the war.
Mufide Ferit Tek lectured in a conference titled “Feminism” in the classroom of Turk Women Maganize, on 4 April 1919. Ahmed Ferit Tek was sent to France with a diplomatic mission. Lady Mufide graduated from Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris. The writer who visited Pierre Loti who was too ill at bed – turned back to the country together with her husband Ahmet Ferit Tek in 1923. In the years of the armistice and National Struggle, the texts of Mufide Ferit Tek who wrote supportively for the National Struggle in the “Ifham” and “Hakimiyet-i Milliye” Newspapers – were travelled from village to village and city to city. Her novel titled “Aydemir” was published in Yedigun magazine in episodes.
While Mufide Ferit, who was among the novelists of the National Literature era of Turkish Literature between 1911-1923, published her first novel Aydemir – the trends of Westernism, Ottomanism, Pan-islamism, and Turkism were widespread during the epoch. Murat Belge defines the “Aydemir” novel in Turkish Literature as the second “Pan-turanism” novel published, after Halide Edip Adivar’s “Yeni Turan” novel in 1912. Both novels were written in the type of “utopia”.
Halide Edip’s “Yeni Turan” and Mufide Ferit Tek’s “Aydemir” works’ being a novelty – is interpreted by Murat Belge with the scarcity of the supporters of Turkism among the Ottoman Turks. According to this, while the supporters of Turkism were primarily Turks, Azeris and Tatars from Russia; the Ottoman Turks were adhering themselves to the identity of Ottomanism. And this enabled the “Aydemir” novel to be seen as one of the pioneer works.
The novel has two main characters: “Aydemir” and “Hazin”. Aydemir is described as a “super-man”. In the novel, the difference between blondness and being brunette is emphasized. In the novel, the symbols of Budhism and Christianity take attention. In this novel, it is seen that Mufide Ferit mentioned an extreme form of nationalism like “racism”; however, her tone is not a “militarist” one.
Emel Esin explains her mother Lady Mufide’s novel in the Turkish Encyclopedia, according to the conditions of the era as follows:
“At the end of the World War I, the Ottoman Empire was collapsing and was leading to separate into the nations which it contained. Under these conditions, Turks were seeking their own national identity. Aydemir was reacting to the feelings of identity search, in a poetic manner. The work was published in a few newspapers in the form of episodes.”
Murat Belge evaluates Tek’s turanist perspective as “feminine” and “cultural” in his text, where he assesses Mufide Ferit Tek’s “Aydemir” novel. According to this, the humanist point of view that Tek defends in her Aydemir novel that defends racism in an affection context; becomes an alone journey, with the new structure that Turanism, in the years to come. Belge thinks that the publication of the book only until 2002, after its first printing in 1918 – must have stemmed from this fact. “Aydemir” affected a generation. It made Sevket Sureyya choose “Aydemir” as his surname, after the publication of his novel, after 16 years. Omer Seyfettin is among the writers who eulogize Aydemir.
The writer wrote her second novel titled “Pervaneler” in 1924. In her novel where she mentions the Turkish girls who move away their national identity who are studying in an American College and how the college functions for missionary acts; the marriages between Turkish men and foreign women are also judged.
Cemal Demircioglu indicates in his article named “The Feminism of Mufide Ferit and The Women Identity in her Stories and Novels ”: “She dealt with the women’s modernization, their advancement in education and public sector – not through an awareness campaign towards improvement in gender equality – but in terms of a general national and social interests.” On the one hand, with the ideas “equality instead of obedience”, while defending the “development” of women; with the general notions such as “country, duty, good manners” stemming from her nationalism – she stagnated the freedom of women identity, which was developing since The Reforms. In the female discourse of the writer, alongside the women identities who were surrounded local and ethical norms, who are assigned with the child care and house chores, who had jobs – we generally meet a “nationalist vision of” a woman identity that we see in her stories and novels. This trait of Mufide Ferit Tek caused her being perceived as a modernist conservative.
Ahmed Ferit served in London between 1925-1932; in Warsow between 1933-1939 (until Poland was demolished) and in Tokyo between 1939-1943; as an ambassador. Mufide Ferit wrote another novel during this time; but this novel was published in German “Die Unuerzeihliche Sünde” [The Unforgiven Sin] and its Turkish version was never published. This book translated into German by Otto Spies was published in 1933, in Krefeld, in Germany. In 1948, Mufide Ferit assumed the role of establishing the Istanbul Club which was the first Soroptimist Club in Turkey.
The writer deceased on 24 March 1971, in Istanbul.