Her father was a secretary of the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II. She and her family were affiliated with the Dönmeh, a group that publicly practiced Islam but secretly practiced a form of Judaism called Sabbateanism. Edip was educated at home by private tutors from whom she learned European and Ottoman literature, religion, philosophy, sociology, piano, English, French, and Arabic. She learned Greek from her neighbors and from briefly attending a Greek school in Istanbul. She attended the American College for Girls briefly in 1893. In 1897, she translated Mother by Jacob Abbott, for which the sultan awarded her the Order of Charity (Nishan-i-Shafakat; Şefkat Nişanı). She attended the American College again from 1899 to 1901, when she graduated. Her father's house was a center of intellectual activity in Istanbul and even as a child Halide Edip participated in the intellectual life of the city.
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