Turkey commemorates master author Yaşar Kemal
Ayse Semiha Baban Gökçeli, chair of the Istanbul-based Yaşar Kemal Foundation, told Anadolu Agency that a number of events would be held this year to honor the memory of the renowned author, who died on Feb. 28, 2015 at age 92.
The group was established in 2016, a year after the death of the esteemed writer.
Gökçeli said it was founded to promote Kemal’s views, values, and stances on freedom, equality, and his love of humanity and nature, as well as respect for cultural differences.
Born in 1923 in Turkey’s southern Osmaniye province, the Kurdish-rooted Turkish writer was also known for fighting oppression and defending minority rights.
He won international acclaim for his 1955 novel Memed, My Hawk. The book, translated into some 40 languages worldwide, also earned him a nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1973.
Gökçeli, the widow of the writer, whose real name was Kemal Sadık Gökçeli, quoted Livaneli, also one of the group’s founders, as saying it was founded “so that Yaşar Kemal’s literature and character could be seen more deeply and passed down to future generations.
“The Yaşar Kemal Foundation is also an homage to both the memory and the work of the great master.”
According to Gökçeli, Kemal- who was born in 1923, the dawn of the Turkish Republic- lived through the major milestones of Turkey and was a keen observer and narrator of this momentous time.
“Yaşar Kemal didn’t have much of a private archive, probably due to some effects of the circumstances of his life,” she added.
“He didn’t hold onto things like letters, notes, and diaries. However, poring over various domestic and international publications and press provides rich material.
“We’ve gotten support and contributions from many private archives in this regard,” she added.
Citing the spoken memoirs of many others who lived through these periods, she added: “We were able to record some of them using the oral history method as much as we could.”
Yaşar Kemal was dubbed the “voice of those who cannot make their voices heard,” she explained, adding that the records would also serve as the archive of those who crossed paths with Kemal, but could not make their voices heard.
Gökçeli also highlighted the celebrated author’s promotion of education as a way to foster creativity as well as the importance of including literature in young people’s lives.
Quoting Kemal, she said: “Knowing people is based on recognizing creativity, which is one of the greatest characteristics of human beings.
Understanding nature and human relations, living nature is more meaningful today than ever before.”
The group supports and organizes many activities to help foster a love of reading in young people and the development of creativity, as well as free, independent, and autonomous thinking, she added.