Kurdish intellectual Burkay returns home after 34 years

Kemal Burkay, a Kurdish writer and poet who left Turkey after the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, told Cihan news agency on Friday that he will return to Turkey on July 30.

July 08, 2011, Friday/ 15:18:00

Kemal Burkay, a Kurdish writer and poet who left Turkey after the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, told Cihan news agency on Friday that he will return to Turkey on July 30.

Burkay said: “I am not upset with anyone. I am coming back to contribute to our people's democracy and the struggle for peace. Our country has lost a lot of time on this issue.”

Burkay is known in Turkey as the writer of the lyrics to pop music singer Sezen Aksu's “Gülümse” (Smile) and also the song “Mamak Türküsü,” originally a poem written during his time in Ankara's Mamak Prison, which was put to music by the band Yeni Türkü.

After years of political struggle in Turkey, Burkay is now in Stockholm, where he has been living as a political refugee since May 1980. Burkay told Cihan he had already bought his flight ticket and that he would leave Stockholm at 12:20 p.m. on July 30 and arrive in İstanbul at 16:45.

Burkay said he was not able to return back to Turkey after the Sept. 12, 1980 coup. “I was among the people who lost their citizenship. We [the people who lost their citizenship] were granted back our citizenships during the time of the late President Turgut Özal. Previously, in 1993, former Interior Minister İsmet Sezgin told me that I could go to Turkey freely, however I didn't think it was realistic,” the Kurdish intellectual said.

Burkay said he had decided to return back home a year ago and that he had finished writing the last two volumes of his memoirs, which are going to be published. Burkay stated that he hopes that the 1980 Constitution will be replaced soon as altering it will not help to solve the issues.

“The troubles in the country forced me to live abroad for 31 years. The people who had to leave the country in the coup era would have been more effective in politics if they had not been forced to leave the country. Being away did not solve anything in the country. All the problems were left unsolved. We lost a lot of time,” said Burkay. The Kurdish intellectual said he is still not upset or displeased at his country and that he is happy to return back home, where he aims to take up an active role straightaway in the people's struggle for freedom and democratic rights.

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