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Muhtar Cem Karaca (April 5, 1945 - February 8, 2004), also called as Cem Baba (Cem the Father) Legend by his fans, was a prominent Turkishmarker rock musician and one of the most important figures in the Anatolian rock movement.


He was the only child of İrma Felekyan (Toto Karaca) of Armenian origin, a popular opera, theatre and movie actress, and Mehmet İbrahim Karaca of Azeri origin. 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 (Apachees), his first Turkish-language group. In 1969, Karaca and bass-player Serhan Karabay left Apaşlar and started an original Anatolian group called Kardaşlar (Brothers).

In 1972, Karaca joined the group Moğollar (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 Francemarker 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 Germanymarker 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.

The state invited Karaca back to the country several times, but Karaca, not knowing what would happen upon his return, decided not to come back.

While he was in Germanymarker, his father died, but he could not return to attend the funeral. After some time, the Turkish government decided to strip Cem Karaca of his Turkish citizenship, keeping the arrest warrant active.

Several years later, in 1987, the prime minister and leader of the Turkish Motherland Party, Turgut Özal, issued an amnesty for Karaca. Shortly afterwards, he returned to Turkey. His return also brought a new album by him, Merhaba Gençler ve Her zaman Genç Kalanlar ("Hello Young Ones and Everyone Who'd Always Felt Young"), one of his most powerful works. His return home was greeted happily by his fans, but during his absence, Karaca had lost the youthful audience and acquired few new listeners. He died on February 8, 2004 and was interred at Karacaahmet Cemeterymarker in Üsküdarmarker district of Istanbul.



  • Emrah/Karacaoğlan (1967) (with Apaşlar)
  • Hudey / Vahşet / Bang Bang / Shakin' All Over (1967) (with Apaşlar)
  • Emrah / Hücum / Karacaoğlan / Ayşen (1967) (with Apaşlar)
  • Ümit Tarlaları/Anadolu Oyun Havası/Suya Giden Allı Gelin/Nasıl Da Geçtin (1967) (with Apaşlar)
  • İstanbul'u Dinliyorum/Oy Bana Bana (1968) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Oy Babo/Hikaye (1968) (with Apaşlar)
  • İstanbul/Why (1968) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Emrah 1970/Karanlık Yollar (1968) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Resimdeki Gözyaşları/Emrah (1968) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Resimdeki Gözyaşları/Şans Çocuğu (1968) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Tears/No, No, No (1968) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Ayrılık Günümüz/Gılgamış (1969) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Zeyno/Niksar (1969) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Bu Son Olsun/Felek Beni (1969) (with Apaşlar and Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Emmioğlu/O Leyli (1970) (with Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Kendim Ettim kendim Buldum/Erenler (1970) (with Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Adsız/Unut Beni (1970) (with Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Muhtar/Baba (1970) (with Ferdy Klein Band)
  • Dadaloğlu/Kalender (1970) (with Kardaşlar)
  • Oy Gülüm Oy/Kara Sevda (1971) (with Kardaşlar)
  • Tatlı Dillim/Demedim Mi (1971) (with Kardaşlar)
  • Kara Yılan/Lümüne (1971) (with Kardaşlar)
  • Acı Doktor (Kısım 1)/Acı Doktor (Kısım 2) (1971) (with Kardaşlar)
  • Kara Üzüm/Mehmet'e Ağıt (1971) (with Kardaşlar)
  • Askaros Deresi/Üryan Geldim (1972) (with Kardaşlar)
  • Obur Dünya/El Çek Tabib (1973) (with Moğollar)
  • Gel Gel/Üzüm Kaldı (1973) (with Moğollar)
  • Namus Belası/Gurbet (1974) (with Moğollar)
  • Beyaz Atlı/Yiğitler (1974) (with Dervişan)
  • Tamirci Çırağı/Nerdesin ? (1975) (with Dervişan)
  • Mutlaka Yavrum/Kavga (1975) (with Dervişan)
  • Beni Siz Delirttiniz/Niyazi (1975) (with Dervişan)
  • Parka/İhtarname (1976) (with Dervişan)
  • Mor Perşembe/Bir Mirasyediye Ağıt (1977) (with Dervişan)
  • 1 Mayıs/Durduramayacaklar Halkın Coşkun Akan Selini (1977) (with Dervişan)


  • Apaslar-Kardaslar (1972)
  • Cem Karaca'nın Apaşlar, Kardaşlar, Moğollar ve Ferdy Klein Orkestrasına Teşekkürleriyle (1974)
  • Nem Kaldi (1975)
  • Parka (1977)
  • Yoksulluk Kader Olamaz (1977) (1)
  • Safinaz (1978) (2)
  • Hasret (1980) (It was sold as LP and tape)
  • Bekle Beni(1982) (It was sold as tape only)
  • Die Kanaken (1984)
  • Merhaba Gençler ve Her Zaman Genç Kalanlar (1987) (It was sold as compact cassette and CD)

Other albums

  • Töre (1988) (It was sold as CD) by Oğuz Abadan Orchestra
  • Yiyin Efendiler (1990)
  • Nerde Kalmistik (1992)
  • Bindik Bir Alamete (1999)
  • Kahpe Bizans (2000)
  • Hayvan Terli (2004) (Single)

Collection albums

  • The Best of Cem Karaca Volume 1 (1996)
  • The Best of Cem Karaca Volume 2 (1997)
  • The Best of Cem Karaca Volume 3 (2000)
  • The Best of Cem Karaca Volume 4 (2001)
  • The Best of Cem Karaca Volume 5 (2002)
  • Ölümsüzler (2004) (After his death)
  • Ölümsüzler 2 (2005) (After his death)
  • Mutlaka Yavrum (2006 (After his death)

(1) It was released again with different cover, sort of songs and songs in 2003.(2) It was released again as compact cassette and CD in 1994 and with different cover after Cem Karaca's death)

He has also appeared as a guest artist on several recordings.


External links

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