Yaşar Kemal

Yaşar Kemal (Turkish pronunciation: [ˈjaʃar ceˈmal]; born Kemal Sadık Gökçeli; 6 October 1923 – 28 February 2015) was a Turkish writer and human rights activist of Kurdish origin and one of Turkey’s leading authors. He received 38 awards during his lifetime and had been a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature on the strength of Memed, My Hawk.

An outspoken intellectual, he often did not hesitate to speak about sensitive issues, especially those concerning the oppression of the Kurdish people. He was tried in 1995 under anti-terror laws for an article he wrote for Der Spiegel highlighting the Turkish Army’s destruction of Kurdish villages during the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. He was released but later received a suspended 20-month jail sentence for another article he wrote criticising racism in Turkey, especially against the Kurds.

Plot summary:

The Sultan of the Elephants is a exciting adventure in which the Sultan of the Elephants gives the Hoopoes a mission: ‘Bring back his long-lost friend Ulukepez’. Upon Ulukepez’s return, he tells him about the ants, and Sultan Elephant is impressed by their extraordinary cooperativeness and wealth. Sultan Elephant is determined to overpower the ants, but in the course of the story, the ants realise that they want to be free. Through clever planning and teamwork, the ants triumph and are finally free to live in the forest. Throughout the story, the ants rediscover, reclaim and retain their identity and fight for their freedom against the elephants.

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