Cem Karaca

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Muhtar Cem Karaca (April 5, 1945 - February 8, 2004), also called Cem Baba (Daddy Cem or Father Cem), was a prominent Turkish-Armenian-Azeri rock musician and one of the most important figures in the Anatolian rock movement.[citation needed]

Contents

Biography

He was the only child of İrma Felekyan (Toto Karaca) of Armenian origin[1], a popular opera, theatre and movie actress, and Mehmet İbrahim Karaca of Azeri origin.[2] His first group was called Dynamites and was a classic rock cover band. Later he joined Jaguars, an Elvis Presley cover band. In 1967, he started to write his own music, forming the band Apaşlar (The Apaches) , his first Turkish-language group. In 1969, Karaca and bass-player Serhan Karabay left Apaşlar and started an original Anatolian group called Kardaşlar (The Brothers).

In 1972, Karaca joined the group Moğollar (The Mongols) and wrote one of his best-known songs, "Namus Belası". However, Cahit Berkay, the leader of Moğollar, wanted an international name for his band, and he left for France to take the group to another level. Karaca, who wanted to continue his Anatolian beat sound, left Moğollar and started his own band Dervişan (Dervishes) in 1974. Karaca and Dervişan sang poetic and progressive songs.

In the 1970s, Turkey's image was damaged by political violence between supporters of the left and the right, separatist movements and the rise of Islamism. As the country fell into chaos, the government suspected Cem Karaca of involvement. At times he was accused of treason for being a separatist thinker and a Marxist-Leninist. The Turkish government tried to portray Karaca as a man, who was unknowingly writing songs to start a revolution. One politician was quoted as saying, "Karaca is simply calling citizens to a bloody war against the state." Dervişan was ultimately dissolved at the end of 1977. He later founded in 1978 Edirdahan, an acronym for "from Edirne to Ardahan"; the westernmost and the easternmost provinces of Turkey. He recorded one LP with Edirdahan.

In early 1979, he left for West Germany for business reasons. Turkey continued to spin out of control with military curfews and eventually a military coup on September 12, 1980. General Kenan Evren took over the government and temporarily closed all the nation's political parties. After the coup, many intellectual people, including writers, artists and journalists, were arrested. A warrant was issued for the arrest of Karaca by the government of Turkey.

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