Poet and writer (b. 1869, Cesrimustafapaşa / Edirne - d. 31 December 1949, İstanbul). He attended a Jewish primary school in İstanbul. He was educated for a while at Galatasaray High School. He was dismissed from the School of Politics on the grounds of contributing to student unrest (1890). After graduating from Medical School (1899), he served as a doctor at the Quarantine Administration. He became a member of Union and Progress Party and selected as parliamentary deputy of Edirne.
During the Second Elections, he disagreed with the Union and Progress Party and he was expelled to İstanbul. There he joined the supporters of the Freedom and Unity Party, which was the opposition party in İstanbul. In the council of ministers of Tevfik Paşa, he became the Minister of Education (1918) and in the government of Damat Ferit Paşa, he became the chief of the Council of State (1919). Due to his opposition to the National Struggle and being one of the delegates that signed the Treaty of Sevres, he was exiled aboard with those on the ‘hundred and fifty’ list. He spent twenty-one years abroad in the Hejaz, the United States but mostly in Jordan and Lebanon (Cünye). In 1939, those of the “hundred and fifty” list were pardoned and he returned to İstanbul four years later. He is buried in the Zincirlikuyu Graveyard.
In the beginning, with the influence of Tevfik Fikret and Abdülhak Hamit he wrote in prosodic meter and later was successful writing in the tradition style of love and dervish poems. Although he is remembered as Philosopher Rıza Tevfik, he was not an important contributor to philosophy. However, he was active in introducing philosophy to the high school curriculum and held conferences on philosophy at İstanbul University and served as a philosophy professor. He is not generally considered a philosopher, but as a very important poet of Turkish Literature.
His articles on various topics were published in the reviews of which he was also a founder, Ulûm-i İktisadiyye ve İçtimaiyye Mecmuası, Bahçe (Thessalonica), Bilgi Mecmuası, Düşünce, Edebiyat-ı Umumiye Mecmuası and İçtihad.
Abdülhak Hamid ve Mülahazât-ı Felsefiyesi (The Philosophy of Abdülhak Hamid and Mülahazât, 1909), Estetik (Aesthetics, 1920), Felsefe Dersleri-1. Kısım, Mebhas-ı Marifet, 1914, (Lectures on Philosophy- Volume 1. Skill of Science, 1914 - translated into modern Turkish by E. Semih Yalçın, 2003), Mabede't Tabiiyat Dersleri (Lessons in Metaphysics, 1920), Madede't Tabiyat Derslerine Vesâik (Documents of Lessons in Metaphysics 1919), Ömer Hayyam'ın Felsefesi (The Philosophy of Omar Khayyam, 1927), Mufassal Kamus-ı Felsefe (Philosophy of Mufassal Kamus, 2 volumes, 1914, 1919), Tevfik Fikret (Tevfik Fikret, 1945), Serâb-ı Ömrüm/şiirler (The Mirage of My Life/poems, first edition, Nicosia, 1934,; 2nd edition, İstanbul, 1949) Biraz da Ben Konuşayım/yakın tarihimizle ilgili anıları (Let Me Talk a Little/ his memoirs about contemporary history, published in a series in the newspaper Yeni Sabah; not published as a book) Rıza Tevfik/ antoloji, inceleme, fıkra yazıları ve şiirleri, (Rıza Tevfik /Anthology, research, his essays and poems edited by Hilmi Yücebaş, fourth edition,1968), Rıza Tevfik'in Tekke ve Halk Edebiyatı ile İlgili Makaleleri (Essays of Rıza Tevfik on Dervish Lodge and Folk Literature, edited by Abdullah Uçan, 1982).
REFERENCE: Hakkı Tarık Us / Elli Yıl (1943), Hilmi Ziya Ülken / Yeni Sabah (9.1.1950), Hilmi Yücebaş / Filozof Rıza Tevfik (1950), Halit Fahri Ozansoy / Edebiyatçılar Geçiyor (1967), Kenan Akyüz / Batı Tesirinde Türk Şiiri Antolojisi (3. bas., 1970), Ruşen Eşref Ünaydın / Diyorlar ki (yeni bas. Haz: Şemseddin Kutlu, 1972), Peyami Safa / Yazarlar Sanatçılar Meşhurlar (1976), Türk Ansiklopedisi (c. 8, s. 37), İhsan Işık / Yazarlar Sözlüğü (1990, 1998) - Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) – Encyclopedia of Turkish Authors (2005) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) - Ünlü Edebiyatçılar (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 4, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013), İbnülemin Mahmud Kemal İnal / Son Asır Türk Şairleri (c. 4, 2002).