ISTANBUL – The Justice and Development Party government in a new move gives a green light to an exiled Kurdish musician Şivan Perwer, while also attempting to bring the remains of another exiled Kurdish musician Ahmet Kaya to Turkey, who died in France. Perwer welcomed the government’s move, saying he will support peace initiatives
A famous Kurdish musician in exile, who was given a prime ministerial green light to return, has said he is receptive to such peaceful overtures and is preparing to make a move after local elections, a newspaper reported yesterday.
Last week on a trip to the southeastern city of Diyarbakır, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan proffered Şivan Perwer an olive branch, saying: “Many Şivans have remained away from their mothers,” as Turkey has not made peace with its history. Erdoğan’s statement was interpreted as permission for Perwer Ğ currently in self -imposed exile in Germany as a result of political oppression for singing in Kurdish Ğ to return to Turkey. Perwer’s spokesman Ali Dağ, talking to daily Taraf said: “Perwer is not unwilling. You will hear concrete statements from him after local elections. There can be joint initiatives with artists, intellectuals, and trade unions in Turkey.”
Ahmet Kaya’s remains to return to Turkey
After restoring the citizenship of the well-known communist poet, Nazım Hikmet, the government has taken further steps in a similar direction. Along with the olive branch to Perwer, allowing the remains of Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya to be brought back to Turkey is another step the government plans to take. Culture Minister Ertuğrul Günay said Monday that they would meet with Kaya’s wife, Gülten, to discuss relocating his remains. Kaya was buried in Paris.
“I spoke to his dear wife. Not focusing on Kaya’s remains issue, but by which means we can make Turkey’s world of ideas reflect different colors and cultures, we will discuss it together,” Günay said.
Meanwhile, Gülten Kaya, talking to daily Hürriyet, said she had not yet spoken to the minister. “Ahmet Kaya’s situation is different from that of Nazım Hikmet.
He is already a Turkish citizen so there is no impediment in having his remains brought back here. If I am asked I will think about it and then decide,” she said.
Ahmet kaya was born in 1957 in Malatya, the fifth child of a family of Kurdish origin. Although Kaya had wanted to study music at a conservatory, his dream was never actualized due to financial shortages. As a young activist he used music to express his political views. In 1985 his first album “Ağlama Bebeğim” (Do not cry my baby) was released.He faced a lawsuit over the lyrics, although many tracks on the album become hits. Kaya released over twenty albums in his lifetime and received many awards.
The musician experienced great difficulties because of the rising tension of the Kurdish issue in the 90s. In this period, every album he recorded and every comment he made became news because of his identity. His statement that he would sing a song in Kurdish in his next album sparked reaction. Following this incident, a story featuring a photograph, allegedly taken in Berlin, which showed Kaya performing live on stage in front of a map of Turkey in which some places were presented as “Kurdistan” lead to a legal process. Kaya repeatedly claimed his innocence but a case was already filed against him, with demands for heavy charges. He was sentenced to three years and nine months in prison but did not serve time as he was outside of the country when the verdict was announced. Kaya died in Paris in 2000 where he was living in the hope of being able to return to his homeland.
Şivan Perwer: A popular musician among Kurds
Born in 1955 in the southeastern province of Urfa’s Sori village, Şivan Perwer developed an interest in music from a very early age. “One of his childhood memories is that the whole neighborhood used to demand that he sing for them on various occasions: ’Şivan please sing for us, we’ll give you candies and sweets…’” he wrote in his biography on his personal Web site.
Perwer is not an academically qualified musician. He studied mathematics, but he taught himself and became one of the better-known Kurdish musicians, accompanying himself on the tambur, a Kurdish 3-course lute. He is a composer, performer and singer, mainly singing political and local folk music. Perwer left the country in 1976, when he faced a prison sentence for singing in Kurdish. Since then Perwer has been living abroad, currently in Germany. In 1991, Perwer participated in the concert of ’The Simple Truth’ in support of Kurdish refuges of the Gulf War performing with Peter Gabriel, Sting, Paul Simon, Tom Jones, The Gipsy Kings as well as other international artists. He has recorded more than 20 albums, all of them in Kurdish.
25 Şubat 2009
Positive signals from exiled Kurdish singer