I want to tell you about author Yasar Kemal, who used Turkish language best, and opened up Turkish language’s horizon.
“From his page in wikipedia“: Yaşar Kemal, 6 October 1923 – 28 February 2015) was a Turkish writer and human rights activist. He was one of Turkey’s leading writers. He received 38 awards during his lifetime and had been a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature (1973) on the strength of “Memed, My Hawk”. An outspoken intellectual, he often did not hesitate to speak about sensitive issues, especially those concerning the problems of the Kurdish people.
He was not just the novelist, except his novels he had written stories, children books, poems, some experimental books and made reportages also these were published as books. His works are more than forty.
He was a child of a Kurdish family. He was a child of a Kurdish family who emigrated from Van city during the Russian occupation in 1915 and settled in a Turkish village in Adana province. The city of Adana, in southern Turkey and close to the Mediterranean, a region famous with cotton production. In Yasar Kemal’s novels and stories, especially in this challenging geography, the oppression on the people (the oppression of the landlords), the desperation of the people, the cunning of some, the revolts, hunger and etc, are explained with socialist and realist way. While they are being explained, he uses such a rich Turkish language that the less number of Turkish writers can achieve this level.
Many people used different identifes for him. I had seen in a writing, I do not remember where now, and he was saying for Yasar Kemal, “he was the wind god of Turkish language.” I think he was right about this.
Yasar Kemal’s politic opinions have been always in left-wing. In here we can ask how was he describing his politic opinions? He was describing himself as socialist and Marxist. For this, we need to look briefly at his life. He lost one of his eyes after an accident at the age of 3.5. His father was murdered when he was five years old. Yasar Kemal, who witnessed his father murder, became a stutterer and difficult to speak until the age of 12. He had to abandon his education life in secondary school due to the financial impossibilities. I mean, he had no school life after secondary school. Until 1950, he worked as construction supervision, clerkship of farm labourer, a petiton-writer, foreman in cotton fields, water watchmen in rice fields, librarian, substitute teacher, tractor driver, in more than 20 lines of work.
While he was working in these jobs, he established relationships with many intellectual writers and artists. In the beginnings of 1940 when he was 17 years old, he was arrested for political reasons. I do not know how long he has been in jail these years, but in 1942 and after then he had a working life, so I do not think it was more than a year. In 1950, this time he was “arrested” on charges of communism propaganda. He came out of prison in 1951 and went to Istanbul. He worked as an anecdote and interview editor in the Cumhuriyet newspaper between 1951-63. Between the years 1962-1970 he was the member of Executive Committee of the Turkey Workers’ Party Central Committee, made the Presidency of the Propaganda Committee. All these years he also wrote many books.
Another law case opened against him in 1995.
“From wikipedia“: In January 1995, the German Spiegel magazine published his article with title “Lies Expedition” which told decades of repression by the state policy towards the Kurds in Turkey, describing the ongoing conflict in those days. According to the Anti-Terror Law, Kemal was accused of “separatism propaganda” and the case was filed at the State Security Court. Kemal in fact, had written that article for his book collection of “Freedom of Thought and Turkey”. The book was published in February 1997 and was confiscated on the second day and it released from the book shelves. On January 23, 1995, hundreds of people, including (some Turkish writers) Orhan Kemal, Demirtas Ceyhun, Erdal Oz and Adalet Agaoglu, went to court to support Yasar Kemal. The writer was acquitted on December 2, 1995.
Well, how was he describing his authorship?
From an interview with him (1971):
“I believe in two things. I believe in infinite power, infinite creativity, infinite change of the two things; people and nature. I do my work together with my people, in unity with its great creativity, for it. Politics can not separate from my art. Who is oppressing the people, who is exploiting them, which one, feudalism or bourgeoisie… Who is against the happiness of the people, I am with the art and with all my life, I am against it. I do not want to separate my art from people like how flesh and bone can not separate from each other. In this age I do not believe in an art that has been broken off from humanity. “
The quotes from another interview with him (1-2 May 1993):
“When we are talking about a single man’s adventure, we can not place it in the sky… It is on an earth, has in some relationships, in a social order, in a local culture… We can extend that relationships more… A person is a person in the conditions for me. We can not ignore his conditions while giving his psychology.”
I will add some quotes from his some books or interviews to explain how was his authorship. So you will understand better what a great master he was, my earthling friends.
“You should revolt against the all evilness of the world. Sometimes your goodness can also be evilness for someone else. You should also revolt against your goodness.”
“Memed, My hawk”, Volume I, 1955
The novel “Memed, My hawk”, which has been translated into more than 30 languages to date, is 4 volumes. Also in 1984, the novel was freely adapted by Peter Ustinov into a film.
“If I was iron I would have rotted; I have resisted by becoming soil.”
“Memed, My hawk”, Volume II, 1969
“While there is a fear in you and there is a righteousness in me, we cannot come together.”
“Memed, My hawk”, Volume III, 1984
“You cannot revive once, if you have not died hundred times at these mountains.”
“Memed, My hawk”, Volume VI, 1987
The following quotation is from Yasar Kemal’s novel-theater play “Canister”, 1955.
“You’re not a liar because of you trust yourself. Because of you do not know what the lie is, you will be defeat against the lie. The power of lie is not because of your weakness. The lie organised, the truth is alone. There is tradition of lie, but the truth have to be reborn every day. It needs to reopen like a dawn flower every day. You will defeat. You will taste the defeat. The truth must be defeated. The truth which did not defeat, does not regard as winner. The truth should become so sharp with defeating… Like a pebble that washed up and become smooth in a hundred thousand years under water.”
I began to like this quote in novel of “Canister” more and more over the years. Because against the countless lie propaganda in the world, the truths are always defeating. As an extraterrestrial, which has tasted defeat quite a bit, I want to say that I want to emerge the smooth pebble as soon as possible!
“The human takes part in universe with it’s heart, not with it’s body.”
“The children are human” -collect into a book of the interview series about Istanbul’s street children in 1975 by Yasar Kemal
“Those beautiful people, got on their beautiful horses and rode away. We stayed with worst of iron and with bastard of human.”
Homicide of the Ironmongers Bazaar, Novel 1973
“If the mountains, people and even death are tired, now then the most beatiful poetry is peace.”
From an interview with him
I said, “Did humanity die?”
“No,” he said, “it was not dead, not dead, but something happened, it must have been stuck elsewhere.”
“The birds have also gone”, Novel, 1978
“Not suddenly, since thousands of years, we have exhausted by leaving every piece of us on each land decreasingly by becoming smaller.”
The Legend of Binboga, Novel 1971
“We will find a language that reaches everything; that can tell something… We are not going to move around such a voiceless, hostile, bit by bit on the world.”
From one of his poem
If someone who wants to understand the Anatolian people’ social structure and people’s living conditions, definitely needs to read at least one of Yasar Kemal’ novels. If you ask me which one is my favorite novel of him, I would tell you my favorite is not inside this post. I did not put my favorite Yasar Kemal’s novel in here, because that one needs to be showed the special interest in my opinion. 😉 I will add it as one post in future, for you. But until that day, you can read one of these books that I added into my post in here.:)