Defeated village head candidate makes TV debut after viral poem

Aydın Battal, the defeated village head (mukhtar) candidate and shepherd in Turkey’s central province of Kırşehir, has made his TV debut on the state broadcaster TRT’s feel-good show “Gönül Dağı,” after his reproachful poem regarding his electoral defeat went viral.

Duvar English

Aydın Battal, a shepherd in central Turkey, on April 21 announced that he has joined the state channel TRT show “Gönül Dağı” (Mountain of Hearts) after becoming an unexpected figure in the March 31 local elections.

Battal was a village head (mukhtar) candidate for the March 31 local elections. He lost, having received 29 votes from the 300 voters of the village. 

The 49-year-old posted a video of him reciting a poem he wrote about his defeat, complaining about his misfortunes in life and the lack of support he received from his family and friends during the campaign process. 

“I had three burdens upon me as I began my election journey:

Being wretched, being a shepherd, being a poet.

I followed my heart and began an adventure.

My kin did not want me, said shepherds do not mukhtars make. 

A fool was I, who did not know right from wrong.

If they could, they would banish me from the village.

As if my opponents were astronauts, just like me– they were village naughts.”

Battal’s five-minute poetic rant went viral on social media, drawing support and sympathy for the defeated candidate. 

Following his overnight fame, Battal announced that he received several offers for film and TV appearances. 

Battal shared a photograph from the “Gönül Dağı” set on his Facebook page, after completing the first day of shooting. 

Battal (R) completes first day of shooting for Turkish state channel TRT's show