TURKISH ROCK MUSICIAN REVEALS ARMENIAN ORIGINS
Prominent Turkish rock and alternative musician, Yashar Kurt,
recently gave an interview to Hurriyet Daily News who speaking about
the release of his new album, as well as his Armenian origins.
According to the Turkish publication, Kurt became baptized at the
age of 40 after learning that he was actually of Armenian origin.
“I am trying to discover myself. Every individual ought to be free
in this decision and live the way they feel. One ought not to carry
their identity around as if it were his or her fate. I am a proselyte
for both sides, neither side accepts me. The sense of not belonging
sticks to you like your destiny. Is being human not the most important
thing?” Kurt told the paper.
Kurt was interested in his true origins since age 13 but never received
a reply, says the paper. The musician reportedly felt extremely angry
when he learned the truth about his origins after 40 years.
“I lived unaware of my true identity in this land, which was visited
by indescribable pain, but I want peace and dialogue. The peace that
I am describing is a peace where one does not prevail over the other,”
he said, adding that his relatives were unnerved and reacted negatively
when he revealed his true identity.
Kurt’s greatest wish is to stage a screen play about the life of
great Armenian composer Komitas.
“Besides our physical resemblance, Komidas is also a significant
figure for humanity, and for Turkish-Armenian relations,” Kurt said,
adding that everyone who saw him was struck by their likeness.
Kurt also stands as a highly symbolic figure for conscientious
objectors; his dissident song “Korku” (“Fear”), which was released
in the late 1990s on the album “Gondermeler” (Allusions), amounts to
a political march against military service. Kurt was sued and tried
for treason because of the album.
“I was going to be sentenced to 12 years in prison, had I not been
acquitted,” he said, adding that the ban on the album was still
“My album is banned. I cannot re-introduce it to the market, but I
can add the songs to my new albums one by one and sing them in my
concerts – it’s truly a contradiction. Because the album was banned
by the Culture Ministry I must file a lawsuit against the state to
lift the ban [and] I was tried at a military court,” Kurt said.
He lived as a fugitive for years to avoid military service, Kurt said,
adding that he finally served 28 days in the military in the early
2000s through draft regulations that allowed him to conduct partially
exempted and paid service.
“Militarism is the fundamental cause behind all the world’s problems.
I cannot lay my hands on a weapon. Bearing arms is not the only way
to serve the country. I can look after the elderly in a nursing home,
or do cleaning work, but I did not want my hands to touch a weapon,
and I still do not want to do so,” he said.