Tevfik learned Persian as a young man, and became a Mevlevi in İzmir. He then moved to Istanbul and continued his Mevlevi practice in Galata and Kasımpaşa. In 1902 he became a Bektashi dervish.
His interest in poetry influenced him into meeting with Mehmet Akif Ersoy. He also visited Egypt for some time between 1908 and 1913.
Neyzen Tevfik’s fame in popular Turkish culture is mainly due to his virtuosity with the ney. Moreover, he was also a heavy drinker while practicing a form of Islam as it was common among Bektashis.He therefore is also a symbol of a clash between the orthodox Islamic doctrine, and the Bektashi order that he was in, as illustrated in the following translation of his writing:
“The disbeliever’s book has neither beginning nor end. A few pages from its middle is all we ever grasp. For religion’s sake and fear of blasphemy we endure woe. Reason cannot perceive where righteousness may go.”
- Hiç, 1919
- Azab-ı Mukaddes, 1949
- Nihavent Saz Semaisi
- Şehnazbuselik Saz Semaisi
- Taksimler, taş plak.