Ahmet Kaya remembered in Paris

22 years after his death in exile in Paris, the Kurdish musician Ahmet Kaya was remembered. In Turkey, he was declared a traitor to the fatherland, and his songs are still sung by millions of people today.

The Kurdish musician Ahmet Kaya was commemorated at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris. The singer and composer from Malatya had to leave Turkey in 1999 due to a smear campaign and death threats and died of a heart attack in exile in Paris on 16 November 2000. His widow Gülten Kaya, the Kurdish academic Selim Temo, Farqîn Azad, Mîr Perwer and Meral Alkan from the Kurdish cultural movement TEV-ÇAND and many other people took part in the commemoration at his grave.

Gülten Kaya said at her husband's grave: "Ahmet's greatest wish was the togetherness and unity of the people of all parts of Kurdistan. He also worked on this here. He is no longer with us and I find it meaningful to repeat this wish. The Kurdish people are one big family. I am in every woman who is murdered in Iran-Kurdistan. History tells us that we must stand together against racism."

In a statement TEV-ÇAND said: "Ahmet Kaya lives and sings on in the hearts of millions of people. On 10 February 1999, he said that he wanted to sing Kurdish songs and record video clips. This was followed by a lynching campaign, prison, exile and finally death. Ahmet Kaya was declared a traitor to the fatherland and expelled. The songs and the Kurdish identity of this artist apparently still frighten some people. Last year, his gravestone was destroyed. This incident showed that Kurdish musicians are still feared even when they are dead. Because Ahmet Kaya's songs are still sung by millions of people today. On the 22nd anniversary of his death, we commemorate Ahmet Kaya once again and declare that the songs he dreamed of in his mother tongue will continue to be played and sung despite bans, oppression and ignorance."

The commemoration ended with songs sung together.