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Thousands attend Kurdish artist Kaya’s commemoration ceremony in İstanbul

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Kurdish singer and composer Ahmet Kaya was commemorated on the 10th anniversary of his death at a ceremony held in İstanbul on Saturday.

Performing at the ceremony, singers sang songs in both Turkish and Kurdish as part of the event, titled “An Gelir — Onsuz 10 Yıl” (Time comes — 10 Years without Him) which also received notable interest from politicians, writers and artists, particularly from pro-Kurdish figures.

Among the 2,000 participants were Culture and Tourism Minister Ertuğrul Günay, pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş, BDP co-chairwoman Gültan Kışanak, BDP deputies Sırrı Sakık, Akın Birdal, Ufuk Uras, ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mehmet Sevigen, İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir, writer Ataol Behramoğlu and dance group Fire of Anatolia artistic director Mustafa Erdoğan.

“I came here on both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s and my own behalf,” Günay said, delivering Erdoğan’s greetings to Kaya’s widow, Gülten Kaya. He also gave a book of Kurdish poetry his ministry published as a present to Baydemir, whom he sat next to during the ceremony.

During the event, Mihran Tomasyan, a Turkish-Armenian dancer, performed and director Ümit Kıvanç’s documentary “Uçurtmam Tellere Takıldı” (My Kite Got Caught in the Wires) was also presented for the first time to the audience.

Kaya became the target of public criticism when he said in February 1999 that he would include a Kurdish song in his next album. After the nationalist Hürriyet daily published doctored photographs showing him giving a concert before a terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) flag in Berlin, public outrage intensified and he was convicted for aiding and abetting the terrorist group. However, because he fled the country before the verdict was pronounced, he escaped being jailed.

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Source : 13 December 2010, Monday / TODAY’S ZAMAN, İSTANBUL

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