Sabahattin Ali was born in 1907 in Gumulcine, while his Captain father was on duty in Balkan wars. The Balkans were under destruction and chaos during those years. Five hundred year old Turkish lands were being lost one by one, along with starvation and war large migrations were taking place. In the following years, Captain Selahattin was inducted into Canakkale as “The Chairman of the Military Court”. Coming from destructive Balkan wars to even more destructive Canakkale frontlines which were ongoing, Mrs Husniye who found herself as a mother in the middle of a war at the age of fourteen, started losing her mental balance after what she saw in Canakkale. With this, Mr Selahattin decided to take his wife and children away from Canakkale.
During those years where every day hundreds of captains, thousands of people died, families were torn apart, Sabahattin Ali was forced to grow up and mature quickly. Mr Selahattin, resigning from military, came to Izmir with his family. Even though for a short period of time things were fine, with the Greeks’ invasion of Izmir his family soon became penniless. Mr Selahattin then took his family and settled into the house of Mrs Husniye’s father in Edremit. Sabahattin Ali finished his primary school here, and even though he came to Istanbul in order to continue his education in school of Galatasaray, this time he couldn’t reach his goal because of the English invasion of Istanbul. He was given to a teacher school. His family managed to settle things down a little while they were in Edremit.
A year left to his graduation, his father Mr Selahattin passed away. Everything was about to get back on the rails, Mrs Husniye was left widowed with three kids. A year after his father’s death, he graduated from Men’s Teacher High School and was inducted to Yozgat.
Sabahattin Ali was furious at his mother because of his father’s death. The character “Şahinde” in this great author’s unforgettable piece “Yusuf of Kuyucak”, was like a portrait of his mother drawn unmercifully.
With his father’s death and the effect of being forced to mature earlier on, Sabahattin Ali had to take on the role of breadwinner in the family. So much so that, even though when he was in prison, unemployed or a fugitive, he never dismissed sending a monthly salary to his family; if he didn’t have the money, he made sure the salary was taken care of via his close friends.