Ahmet Kaya was a folk singer who was born in Malatya, Turkey. He was of mixed Kurdish-Turkish origin and often identified himself as a "Kurd of Turkey". 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.
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