President Gül honors defamed Kurdish singer’s memory with messages of unity

President Gül honors defamed Kurdish singer’s memory with messages of unity

President Gül honors defamed Kurdish singer’s memory with messages of unity

Gülten Kaya, wife of late Kurdish folk singer Ahmet Kaya, speaks at the Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Awards ceremony held on Dec. 24, after receiving the award granted to his husband. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin Sönmez

A ceremony for the Presidential Culture and Arts Grand Awards which was held amid the political turmoil that is still sending shockwaves through all segments of society in Turkey witnessed messages of unity and tolerance.

President Abdullah Gül used the presentation of awards, particularly the one granted to once-demonized Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya, as an opportunity for warning how Turkey had no luxury to make the mistakes it has made in the past.

“This country is all ours, this homeland is all ours, this state is all ours. When we look at our political history, we have all had sufferings, wrongdoings and sadness. However, this is our own home. What matters is displaying the ambition for correcting these, by noticing wrongdoings and flaws in our own house,” Gül said, before presenting the award posthumously granted to Kaya, who died abroad in de facto exile 13 years ago, to the singer’s widow, Gülten Kaya.

The president voiced will and aspiration for seeing a Turkey where freedom of expression prevails, while also pointing at significance of democracy and rule of law for viability of culture and arts.
Acknowledging that Kaya was a victim of injustice, Gül, nonetheless, said that with this award, Kaya’s due was being somehow given to him.

“He was person who gave voice to the whole of Anatolia. This award is granted to him in that regard. You are taking this as his family. But all of these are actually steps that have been taken in order to prevent new mistakes and new wrongdoings. As I said, when we look at our past, we unfortunately have had wrongdoings. What matters is to not make new wrongdoings on the way that we are proceeding down,” Gül said.

Professor Fuat Sezgin was awarded “for his precious works in the field of history of science and technology in Islam,” Professor İskender Pala “for his contribution to literature,” Professor Bekir Karlığa “for the point of view he brought to reconciliation between civilizations,” Daron Acemoğlu for “his different approach to theory and models of classical growth and development with a different perspective” were also present at the ceremony. The Union of Historical Towns was also awarded.

In his presentation speech, Gül referred to a book that Acemoğlu co-wrote with James Robinson: “Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty.”

“Frankly, I also read it with great pleasure. I advise all politicians and statesmen; and everybody to read this book for learning about the substance of economy-politics relation and development,” Gül said.