Orhan Kemal turns 99 with celebration

Orhan Kemal turns 99 with celebration

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Orhan Kemal turns 99 with celebration

The Orhan Kemal Museum in Cihangir displays many of the novelist’s personal belongings, photos and writings. DHA photo

One of the leading names of 20th century Turkish literature, Orhan Kemal, has been commemorated on what would have been his 99th birthday, at the museum bearing his name in the Cihangir neighborhood of Istanbul.

Kemal’s family and relatives want to mark 2014 as the “Year of Orhan Kemal,” due to his 100th birthday.

Making a speech in front of the Orhan Kemal Museum building, which displays many of the novelist’s personal belongings, photos and writings, Kemal’s son, Işık Öğütçü, gave a speech to mark the event. “Every writer’s 100th birthday is celebrated. I hope that next year we will celebrate the writer in a better way,” he said.

Öğütçü called on the Culture and Tourism Ministry to help Orhan Kemal’s survive for the coming generations. “There are two things I want to request from officials. The first is to launch 2014 as the ‘Year of Orhan Kemal,’ and the other is for his name to be given to the Science and Technology University in Adana,” he said.

The cotton factory in Adana, where Kemal worked, is set to become a Fine Arts Faculty. “This is very important to me. If it is realized, I will be satisfied,” he added.

Among the guests celebrating the 99th birthday of Kemal were the writer Ahmet Ümit. Speaking about Kemal’s impact on his career, Ümit said the first books he had read were Kemal’s “Murtaza” and “Bereketli Topraklar Üzerinde” (On Fertile Lands). “Those books had a deep impact on me. One can see these impacts on my writing style. Like Kemal, I try to depict characters with short sentences and dialogue. Both his and my characters are from the street. Even though we did not meet, Kemal contributed to me. He is one of the master writers. His books are still read today because he depicts the soul of the human,” he said.

Young Turkish writer Onur Caymaz described Kemal as “the writer of goodness,” adding that Kemal always advised people to never lose hope. “He is the writer of goodness. He tells of the good people of the world in an environment where everything is nourished by evil,” Caymaz said.