Yaşar Kemal (born Kemal Sadık Gökçeli, 6 October 1923 – 28 February 2015) was a Turkish writer and human rights activist of Kurdish origin. He was one of Turkey's leading writers. 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 plight of the Kurdish people. He was tried in 1995 under anti-terror laws for an article he wrote for German magazine Der Spiegel accusing the Turkish army of destroying Kurdish villages. He was released but later received a suspended 20-month jail sentence for an article he wrote criticising racism against minorities in Turkey, especially the Kurds