Journalist – author (B. 23 February 1878, Yavşirma village / Kazan – D. 22 July 1954, Ankara). His father is the imam of the village İlâdettin İshakî, his mother Bike Kameriye Hanım. Until the age of twelve he studied in his father’s madrasah and learnt Kazan dialect and all finesses of Arabic language. In 1890 he was sent to the Madrasah of Şakir Kemal Hazretin in Çistay, three years later to a higher Madrasah in Kazan. Şeyhattin Ağa one of the students of his relative Şehabettin Mercani who passed away at that time gave him his rich library which also contained Turkish works. He used books in this library to increase and strengthen his knowledge. In 1893 Ayaz İshaki entered Âllam Hazret Madrasah in Kazan and became student of famous Gallam Hazret. He found an appropriate environment in Kazan to develop his ideas. He followed “Tercüman” newspaper issued by İsmail Gaspıralı in Crimea, “İginci Köylü” newspaper issued in Azerbaijan and “Malûmat” journal issued in Istanbul, which started his interest in journalism during these years.
Ayaz İshakî was raised by his father in an Islamic lifestyle and according to Islamic moral principles. He started to learn the history of Islamic world starting from early ages. In his works he would write later the influence of this education style is observed. Within this context, following words of him in one of his memories are important:
“I started to research the reasons of the historical catastrophe of Islamic world. How did the Eastern societies enter the colonizers’ dominance although they had an advanced civilization? A sad truth which attracted my attention was that historians of Islam abstained from presenting these reasons.”
Ayaz İshakî was raised during the cultural and national awakening period of Northern Turks. He modeled Şehabettin Mercanı, Hüseyin Feyzhan, Abdülkayyum Nasirîand Kırımlı Gaspıralı İsmail Bey, who were known in history as Turkish leaders belonging to this awakening period and he was influenced by them. They studied history, pedagogy and philosophy for the awakening of Northern Turks. Ayaz İshakî Bey contributed to this movement with his literary works. He published his first work “Taallümde Saadet” (1896) during his student years.
Ayaz İshakî believed that national culture would develop with education and gave a large place to Europeanization and reform movements in his articles and works. Ayaz İshakî Bey other representatives of this movement in literature are F. Emirhan, F. Kerimî, Rahim and A. İbrahim Bey. However, İshakî was not satisfied with the expansion of this horizon and he quit the madrasah with his friend Sadri Maksudi, went to Tatar – Russian school in Kazan in 1899, learnt Russian language and started to study Russian classics. After completing his education of four years here he was granted “primary school Russian teacher” diploma and served as a teacher for a while. Based on what he learnt in this school, Ayaz İshakî came to the conclusion that it was necessary to use the literary esthetics for the spiritual education of the nation. İshakî searched the topic of his work among people and found it when he wrote his works.
The secret “Hürriyet” journal under the administration of Ayaz İshakî started to be published in 1902. 1905 Russian revolution created certain possibilities for Kazan Turks and numerous national newspapers and journals started to be published in these years. Between 15/18 August 1905 the 1st Congress of Russian Turks gathered in Nijni-Novgorod city and upon the decision of the congress, a union called “Alliance of all Muslims in Russia” was established in Petersburg in January 1906. Ayaz İshakî also participated to this congress.
Ayaz İshakî Bey started to publish “Tan Yıldızı” newspaper in 1905 and “Tan” journal but the Czar Government closed this newspaper and journal in a short time and Ayaz İshakî was sent to the Prison of Çistay. Because of this imprisonment which collided with State Duma Congress İshakî lost his right of being elected. He was released after elections and started to publish “Tavış” newspaper in 1906. However he was arrested again. Ayaz İshakî was sent to exile for three years in 1907 after an imprisonment of six months. In 1908 he escaped to and tried to hide in Petersburg but was arrested by the police and was sent to exile again. Since he was banned to enter Kazan after exile he started his press career in Petersburg again. In 1911 he came to Istanbul and settled to Kandilli and he continued to write his works. Even though he returned to Russia and continued his struggle from where he left it upon the invitation of his friends, he was again arrested and sent to exile. With the general amnesty in 1913 he became free and published “İl” newspaper. However, this newspaper was also closed in 1915. In 1916 he started to publish “Söz” newspaper but this newspaper was also closed. Upon the 1917 February Revolution in Russia he worked intensively on the independence of Kazan Turks and started to publish “İl” newspaper in Moscow again.
Ayaz İshakî escaped in 1920 to Paris. Here he continued defending national rights of Kazan Turks together with Sadri Maksudi Bey. Between the years 1934-38 he traveled to Manchuria, Korea, Japan, Arabia and Finland and contributed to the organization of Kazan Turks living in these countries. During his travel to the Far East he established “Millî Bayrak” newspaper. Between the years 1928-39 he published in Berlin “Yana Millî Yul” journal. During his exile years he did not give up writing and tried to make himself heard using his pen. In 1939 he came to Turkey and he started to work in “Türk Yurdu” journal here. During his authorship, literary and political activities of fifty years, he published more than 10 newspapers and journals and around 50 books.
Ayaz İshakî went to Munich in 1953 as a guest of American Committee and in the congresses there he defended non-Russian people’s rights. After returning from Munich his health condition was worsened and on the 22nd of June1954 he passed away at the house of his daughter in Ankara. He requested that his corpse was inhumed to İstanbul/Edirnekapı Martyrs’ Cemetery aside Yusuf Akçura. This wish of him was realized and he was inhumed there. Ayaz İshakî Bey who set light to cultural and national awakening of Kazan Turks with his literary works is a man of thought and a fighter of independence who devoted his life to Turkish existence.
STORIES-NOVELS: Taallumda Saadet (Öğretimde Mutluluk, Kazan 1896), Kelepuşç iKız (Kazan 1900), TilenciKız (Kazan 1907), Zindan (Kazan 1907), İki Yüz Yıldan Sonra İnkıraz (1908), Soldat (1908), Cıyıntık (1909), Bay Oğlu (Tüccar Oğlu, 1911), Turmış mı Bu?(Hayat mı Bu?, 1911), Şakirt Abiy (1911), Sünnetçi Babay (1911), Familiye Saadeti (1912), Mulla Babay (HocaEfendi, 1913), Üstadbike (1915), Ul Eli Öylenmegen İdi (O Daha Evlenmemişti, 1918), Üyge Taba(Eve Doğru,1938), Uluğ Muhammed (1947).
PLAYS: İki Aşk (1903), Üç Hatun Bilen Turmış (Üç Kadın ile Hayat, 1908), Züleyha (1918), Dulkın İçinde (Dalga İçinde, 1937), Köz (1938), Jan Bayeviç (1939), Kadın İlk Hayat, Hayat Yolunda.
MEMORIES: Anı Defteri, Utız YıllığımYıllığım (OtuzYıllığım, 1927; In 1988, Lena Gaynanoua collected and published Taalümde Saadet, Bay oğlu, Abdulla, Zindan, Soldat, Oçraşu yaki Gölgıyzar, Kelepüşçü Kız, İki Yüz Yıldan Son İnkıraz books in one volume in Cyrillic letters).
RESEARCH-ANALYSIS: Şimal Türklerinin Edebiyat Tarihi.
REFERENCE: Tahir Çağatay / Muhammed Ayaz İshaki-Hayatı ve Faaliyetleri (1979), Türk Ansiklopedisi (c. 30, s. 36-37), TDE Ansiklopedisi (c. 4, s. 342-343), TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi (c. 21, s. 474-475), Şule Güngör / Yanga Millî Yul Dergisi ve Tatar Aydınlarından M. Ayaz İshaki (İdilli)’nin Siyasî Görüşleri (M. Ü. Türkiyat Araştırmaları Enstitüsü, 1994), Azerbaycan (Ayaz İshakî özel sayısı, c. 13, s. 4-6), TDOE –TDE Ansiklopedisi (c. 5, 2005), İhsan Işık / Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) - Ünlü Fikir ve Kültür Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 3, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).