Kurdish intellectual returns to Turkey after 31 years-exile

Kemal Burkay, Kurdish politician, activist and poet, left from Sweden to return his homeland Turkey after 31 years of exile.

Kurdish intellectual returns to Turkey after 31 years-exile

Kemal Burkay, Kurdish politician, activist and poet, left from Sweden to return his homeland Turkey after 31 years of exile.

Before leaving from Sweeden, Burkay made very important explanations regarding the Kurdish initiative in Turkey. Burkay had said he decided to return after the government launched an initiative to expand the cultural rights extended to Kurds in Turkey.

It was time to leave the country for Burkay, who was being legally prosecuted for his political views and activities, on an April day in 1980, shortly before the approaching coup d'état of Sept. 12. He crossed the Syrian border and stepped on Syrian soil and looked back at the other side toward Nusaybin, a district of Mardin. He remembered with teary eyes, "I was seeing small bald hills. These weren't any great mountains like Agrior Suphan. You know, even those small hills looked beautiful to me in a way that I'd never seen them." This would the last view of his homeland for the next three decades.

Burkay said the idea of returning to Turkey started when the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government announced a "Kurdish initiative" plan two years ago to expand the cultural rights enjoyed by the country's Kurds.

He said: "Of course, I thought of it before, but I didn't think the conditions were there. You know the government launched the initiative process in 2009. My views were being published by newspapers, journalists and television stations extensively without any censorship at all," pointing to the extent of democratic change in Turkey. "Mr. Prime Minister later said there were no obstacles for some [Kurdish] people, also naming me, to return to Turkey. Interior Minister Besir Atalay called me personally," he added.

He said he had wanted to return earlier, but decided to wait until the end of the elections for fear that his return before the elections might lead to needless speculation.

Cihan news agency

Last Mod: 31 Temmuz 2011, 18:04
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