Ahmet Kaya

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Ahmet Kaya
Ahmet Kaya.jpg
Background information
Born 28 October 1957[1]
Malatya, Turkey
Died 16 November 2000(2000-11-16) (aged 43)
Paris, France
Genres Turkish music, Kurdish music, Azerbaijani music
Occupation(s) Musician, poet
Instruments Bağlama, Singing
Years active 1985–2000
Website www.ahmetkaya.com
An homage in graffiti to the power of Ahmet Kaya's voice in Okmeydanı, Istanbul: "The only drug taken through the ear is Ahmet Kaya."

Ahmet Kaya (28 October 1957[1] – 16 November 2000) was a Turkish-Kurdish singer from Malatya, Turkey. He identified himself as a Kurd of Turkey.[2] Some of his most popular songs include Ayrılık Vakti, Söyle, Ağladıkça, Oy Benim Canım, Birazdan Kudurur Deniz, Arka Mahalle, Kum Gibi, Nereden Bileceksiniz, Hani Benim Gençliğim, Yakarım Geceleri and Şafak Türküsü.


Ahmet Kaya was the fifth and last child born to his father, a Kurd who had moved from Semsûr to Meletî. He first encountered music at the age of six. Ahmet Kaya worked for a while as a taxicab driver in Istanbul before becoming well known as a singer in the mid-1980s.

His first album, Ağlama Bebeğim, was released in 1985. His popularity continued to rise into the 1990s when in 1994 he released the album Şarkılarım Dağlara which sold a record copies. All of his 1990 albums became chart-toppers.

During his career he recorded approximately 20 albums and was known for his protest music and positions on social justice. Recurring themes in his songs are love towards one's mother, sacrifice, and hope.

Awards controversy[edit]

On 10 February 1999 during the televised annual music awards ceremony, SHOW TV, at which he was to be named Musician of the Year, Kaya spoke out about his Kurdish background and said that he wanted to produce music in his native Kurdish as naturally as he did in Turkish. He announced that he had recorded a song in Kurdish (Karwan, released on the Hoşçakalın Gözüm album in 2001) and intended to produce a video to accompany it.

Following this announcement, he faced massive opposition from Turkish people and celebrities, led by Serdar Ortaç, who years later apologized for his behavior, and the crowd also started singing a Turkish nationalist song. Kaya's wife told the BBC that "All of a sudden, all of those chic women and men, they all turned into monsters, grabbing forks and knives and throwing them at us, insulting, booing. Imagine the atmosphere changing in just five minutes, almost a Kafkaesque transformation."[3] This was an incident which led to a prosecution case which made him leave Turkey.[4]

Exile and death[edit]

Kaya went to France in June 1999, escaping various charges arising from his political views.[citation needed]. In March 2000 he was sentenced in absentia to three years and nine months in prison on the charge of spreading separatist propaganda.[5] Later, however, the visual media central to allegations demonstrating Kaya in front of the poster was proven to be forged.[6][7] He died from a heart attack in Paris in 2000,[8] at the age of 43, and is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery.


  • Ağlama Bebeğim (1985)
  • Acılara Tutunmak (1985)
  • Şafak Türküsü (1986)
  • An Gelir (1986)
  • Yorgun Demokrat (1987)
  • Başkaldırıyorum (1988)
  • Resitaller-1 (1989)
  • İyimser Bir Gül - Kod Adı Bahtiyar (1989)
  • Resitaller-2 (1990)
  • Sevgi Duvarı (1990)
  • Başım Belada (1991)
  • Dokunma Yanarsın (1992)
  • Tedirgin (1993)
  • Şarkılarım Dağlara (1994)
  • Beni Bul (1995)
  • Yıldızlar ve Yakamoz (1996)
  • Dosta Düşmana Karşı (1998)


  • Hoşçakalın Gözüm (2001)
  • Biraz da Sen Ağla (2003)
  • Kalsın Benim Davam (2005)
  • Gözlerim Bin Yaşında (2006)
  • Babaero Ahmet Kaya Yanlizim (2012)

Posthumous awards[edit]

In June 2012 the Turkish Association of Magazine Journalists awarded Ahmet Kaya its Special Prize.[9]

In October 2013 Ahmet Kaya was given the Grand Presidential Prize in Culture and Arts in the music category on the day that would have been his 57th birthday.[10]


  1. ^ a b Biography of Ahmet Kaya Ahmet Kaya Resmi Web Sitesi
  2. ^ "Kurdish singer Ahmet Kaya's widow still at odds with Turkey - LOCAL". Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Kasapoglu, Cagil (11 November 2016). "Kurdish Singer Ahmet Kaya". bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 11 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "Kurdish Herald - The Independent and Resourceful Gateway to Kurdish News and Analyses". Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  5. ^ "45 ay hapis". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 11 March 2000. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Haber7. "Ahmet Kaya'nın 6. ölüm yıldönümü". Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  7. ^ "(in Turkish) Ahmet Kaya Cinayeti neden yayınlanmadı? 21 Şubat 2010, URL erişim tarihi: 31 Agustos 2010.". Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  8. ^ Costas M. Constantinou, Cultures and Politics of Global Communication, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 978-0-521-72711-2, p. 188.
  9. ^ Müjgan Halis (18 June 2012). "Ahmet Kaya'dan özür dileyecekler!". Sabah (in Turkish). Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  10. ^ Aydın Hasan (29 October 2013). "Köşk'ün ödülü Ahmet Kaya'ya". Milliyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 23 April 2014. 

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