Turkey’s Interior Ministry has ordered the playing of Ottoman-era composer Itri’s “Segah Tekbir” instead of Frédéric Chopin’s “Marche Funèbre” during funeral processions of fallen soldiers.
According to a circular released by the ministry on Tuesday, Itri’s “Segah Tekbir” will be played during soldiers’ funeral processions, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
The circular said: “The procession during martyrs’ funerals will be made accompanied by Itri’s ‘Segah Tekbir,’ which is in accordance with the morals of martyrs and its place in the hearts of our nation. The same will apply to members of the Interior Ministry when they pass away.”
The ministry also added that no trumpet will be played during the funerals of soldiers and that silence would be observed without any musical instruments.
Debates on changing the funeral procession of fallen soldiers started after a group of soldiers in the southeastern province of Hakkari silenced a band playing Chopin’s piece and walked to the loud shouts of “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) on April 3 of this year.
On April 15 then-President of Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) Mehmet Görmez suggested replacing the funeral march with Itri’s “Segah Tekbir.”
Itri’s “Segah Tekbir” was for the first time performed on Aug. 29 during the funeral procession of martyr Gendarmerie Spc. Cpl. Muhammed Meriç by the General Gendarmerie Command band.
Chopin’s “Marche Funèbre” has been the official march for protocol funerals across Turkey since 1932.