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Turkey Mourns Death of Legendary Turkish Novelist Yaşar Kemal

One of Turkey’s most famous authors and the country's first candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, Kemal was hospitalized in mid-January due to lung infection and heart rhythm problems.

He had been under intensive care at Istanbul University's Hospital since January 14, 2015.

Kemal, who wrote more than 20 novels and nearly 10 experimental works, in addition short stories, is also famous for his contributions to recreating Turkish as a literary language.

Having both Turkish and Kurdish origins, Kemal was born in October 1923 in Osmaniye in southern Turkey. Losing his right eye due to a knife accident, the writer experienced a difficult childhood.

Kemal first worked as letter-writer for illiterate citizens in small villages, then became a journalist and finally a novelist, always believing in "human beings and nature," defining his art as "being at the proletariat's service."

Receiving international acclaim for Ince Memed (Memed, My Hawk), which was firstly published in 1955, Kemal used a mythological hero -- the eponymously named Ince Memed -- to criticize society and its values. In the novel, Memed runs away to the mountains due to the oppression of the Agha (landowner).

Published in 40 languages, Ince Memed was also based on the lives and sufferings of Anatolian people.

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