Ahmet Kaya
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Ahmet Kaya
Ahmet Kaya
Ahmet Kaya.jpg
Background information
Born28 October 1957[1]
Ad?yaman, Turkey
Died16 November 2000(2000-11-16) (aged 43)
Paris, France
GenresTurkish music, Kurdish music, Azerbaijani music
Musician, poet
InstrumentsBa?lama, Vocals
An homage in graffiti to the power of Ahmet Kaya's voice in Okmeydan?, Istanbul: "The only drug taken through the ear is Ahmet Kaya."

Ahmet Kaya (28 October 1957[1] – 16 November 2000) was a folk singer from Malatya, Turkey. He was of mixed Kurdish-Turkish origin and often identified himself as a "Kurd of Turkey".[2] Many of his albums broke sales records. Kaya, with over 20 albums, is by far one of the most influential and controversial artists of the 20th century in Turkey who was very vocal on social and political issues; had to flee Turkey for France and died in exile. An elegy "Ya beni sararsa memleket hasreti / What if I am homesick" tells the story of his agony, suffering, longing for the people and homeland he was torn away from. Many believe this led to his sudden death at a very young age. Ahmet Kaya paid a huge price announcing his wish "to sing in the Kurdish language" when he was invited to stage to receive award at an award ceremony live on TV in 1999. He was declared a villain by authorities; targeted with fabricated news as a "traitor" by newspapers and TV stations nationwide. Turkish Media portrayed Kaya as "Part of the Kurdistan Worker's Party and "with Abdullah Ocalan" as a result of his declaration of him being Kurdish.


Ahmet Kaya was the fifth and last child born into a mixed family, to a Kurdish father who had moved from Ad?yaman to Malatya and a Turkish mother. Despite indentifiying himself as Kurdish in his last years, he did not speak Kurdish. He first encountered music at the age of six. Ahmet Kaya worked for a while as a taxicab driver in Istanbul before becoming a famous singer in the mid-1980s.

His first album, A?lama Bebe?im, was released in 1985. His popularity continued to rise into the 1990s when in 1994 he released the album ?ark?lar?m Da?lara which sold a record number of copies. All of his 1990 albums became chart-toppers.

During his career, he recorded approximately 20 albums and was known for his protest music and positions on social justice. Recurring themes in his songs are love towards one's mother, sacrifice, and hope.

Awards ceremony incident

On 10 February 1999 during the televised annual music awards ceremony, Show TV, at which he was to be named Musician of the Year, Kaya said that he wanted to produce music in his native language, as he was of Kurdish background. He also announced that he had recorded a song in Kurdish (Karwan, released on the Ho?çakal?n Gözüm album in 2001) and intended to produce a video to accompany it.

Following this announcement, he faced massive opposition from Turkish people and celebrities in the event. First, Serdar Ortaç started singing a song with modified lyrics to boost nationalist feelings,[3] then people in the ceremony started singing 10th Year March. Later, Kaya was attacked by celebrities. Kaya's wife describes the attack as "All of a sudden, all of those chic women and men, they all turned into monsters, grabbing forks and knives and throwing them at us, insulting, booing. Imagine the atmosphere changing in just five minutes, almost a Kafkaesque transformation."[4]

Exile and death

The incident led to a prosecution case which made him leave Turkey.[5] In March 2000 he was sentenced in absentia to three years and nine months in prison on the charge of spreading separatist propaganda.[6] Later, however, the mass media allegation showing Kaya in front of the poster was proven to be forged.[7][8] He died from a heart attack in Paris in 2000,[9] at the age of 43, and is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery.


  • A?lama Bebe?im (1985)
  • Ac?lara Tutunmak (1985)
  • ?afak Türküsü (1986)
  • An Gelir (1986)
  • Yorgun Demokrat (1987)
  • Ba?kald?r?yorum (1988)
  • Resitaller-1 (1989)
  • ?yimser Bir Gül - Kod Ad? Bahtiyar (1989)
  • Resitaller-2 (1990)
  • Sevgi Duvar? (1990)
  • Bam Belada (1991)
  • Dokunma Yanars?n (1992)
  • Tedirgin (1993)
  • ?ark?lar?m Da?lara (1994)
  • Beni Bul (1995)
  • Y?ld?zlar ve Yakamoz (1996)
  • Dosta Dü?mana Kar (1998)


  • Ho?çakal?n Gözüm (2001)
  • Biraz da Sen A?la (2003)
  • Kals?n Benim Davam (2005)
  • Gözlerim Bin Yanda (2006)
  • Babaero Ahmet Kaya Yanlizim (2012)

Posthumous awards

In June 2012 the Turkish Association of Magazine Journalists awarded Ahmet Kaya its Special Prize.[10]

In October 2013 Ahmet Kaya was given the Grand Presidential Prize in Culture and Arts in the music category on the day that would have been his 57th birthday.[11]


  1. ^ a b Biography of Ahmet Kaya Archived 14 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine Ahmet Kaya Resmi Web Sitesi
  2. ^ "Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya's widow still at odds with Turkey - LOCAL". Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ "O gece neler ya?and?".
  4. ^ Kasapoglu, Cagil (11 November 2016). "Kurdish Singer Ahmet Kaya". bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 2016.
  5. ^ "Kurdish Herald - The Independent and Resourceful Gateway to Kurdish News and Analyses". Retrieved 2017.
  6. ^ "45 ay hapis". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 11 March 2000. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ Haber7. "Ahmet Kaya'n?n 6. ölüm y?ldönümü". Retrieved 2017.
  8. ^ "(in Turkish) Ahmet Kaya Cinayeti neden yay?nlanmad 21 ?ubat 2010, URL eri?im tarihi: 31 Agustos 2010". Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 2017.
  9. ^ Costas M. Constantinou, Cultures and Politics of Global Communication, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-521-72711-2, p. 188.
  10. ^ Müjgan Halis (18 June 2012). "Ahmet Kaya'dan özür dileyecekler!". Sabah (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ Ayd?n Hasan (29 October 2013). "Kö?k'ün ödülü Ahmet Kaya'ya". Milliyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 2014.

Further reading

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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