THE UNIVERSAL TREASURE OF TURKEY , ORHAN
By Prof. Dr. Turkel Minibas
one knows what the future holds. However, people need to know how to
live their lives and be actively involved in it, especially in countries
where there are rapid changes.
Orhan Kemal was the one who was always aware of this fact and tried to
make a difference in people’s lives by using literature effectively as a
tool. Decades later his books continue to be a source of inspiration as
the themes he chose are still relevant today because of their universal
example in “Gemile” he describes how the technological changes brought
about by the Cleveland cotton production in Turkey impacted people’s
lives by leading to unemployment as skilled labour was sought. We can
grasp the effects of these changes on the social structure in his books
by examining the lives of characters in books like “The Cobbler and His
Sons” and “Birds of Exile”. “The Cobbler and His Sons” describes the
life of a man who earns his living by repairing agricultural implements.
When tractors are introduced in villages in Turkey due to the Marshall
Aid Plan, he loses his job and is forced to leave the village with his
family and seek employment in the city. In “Birds of Exile”, he
characterized those who moved to industrial cities such as Istanbul to
find jobs, as “migrating birds” because they did not know where to
settle and how to adapt to their new lives.
today our global economy has had the same impact thus making Orhan
Kemal’s works highly relevant. In short, he exposed people to the
different colours and aspects of Turkish life.
these reasons Orhan Kemal works are rich source of material for students
studying fields apart from literature, for example the social sciences,
economics, etc. As a professor of Economics I usually use him as a
reference when lecturing..
Prof.Dr. Türkel Minibaþ