Memed my hawk background info

The phenomenon of banditry in Turkey is historically ancient, dating at least as far back as the Hittites, warrior invaders who swept into Anatolia late in the third millennium B. Brigands and bandits were also prevalent in the days of the Ottoman Empire — , especially during the seventeenth century when the Ottoman state was becoming more centralized.

To some extent, the bandits were themselves creations of the state, born of the mercenary troops hired by central authorities to enforce their own power over certain sectors of society, rather like a private army. Once their campaigns were concluded, these mercenaries found themselves decommissioned and unemployed. Consequently many roamed the countryside in armed gangs, offering their fighting skills for hire and engaging in theft and pillaging.

During the final years of World War I, the number of brigands in the country increased, thanks in part to deserters from the Ottoman army, which was fighting on the side of Germany. On the other hand, many brigands united with their countrymen to fight the Turkish War of Independence — Turkish nationalists, led by Ataturk, squared off against the Greek army, which invaded western Anatolia with the intent of detaching it from Turkish rule. Also they squared off against the Allies Italy, France, and Great Britain , whose leaders were attempting to partition the former Ottoman Empire into zones of influence to be governed by them.

They drove the French out and the whole country was thus liberated. Historians Stanford J. Shaw and Ezel Kural Shaw present a more objective view, revealing that brigands and irregulars actually fought on both sides in the post-World War I conflict, some allying themselves with the French in the Cukurova region, others fighting on the side of the Turkish nationalist forces. The latter eventually succeeded in driving the French out of southeastern Turkish lands, and the Greeks, supported by the British, out of the west.

After the new government was established, most of the brigands returned to the mountains and their former lifestyles, fighting each other and helping the newly rich class of aghas protect their holdings and control their tenants. But the conflicting interests of the Aghas in the plains began to lead to fights among their brigand supporters in the mountains.


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After a short chapter describing the coastal region of Cukurova and the highland plateaus of the Taurus Mountains in southern Turkey, the novel depicts the child Memed fleeing from his home village of Deyirmenoluk and its feudal lord, Abdi Agha. The feudal lord owns all the land in and around the five villages on the Dikenli plateau, or Plain of Thistles.

Cruel and abusive, he has singled out Memed and his widowed mother for persecution: Abdi Agha makes the boy plow barefoot in the frost and thistles, beats him constantly, and once tied him to a tree and left him to be devoured by wolves and birds of prey. Unable to bear these torments any longer, Memed abandons his mother, Deuneh, and flees over the next mountain ridge to Kesme village.

Memed thrives in this comfortable and loving environment, but he cannot help worrying about his mother, whom he left behind.

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After Memed and his mother finish harvesting the wheat, Abdi Agha takes his share of the crop. Reduced to starvation during the winter, Memed and his mother give up their only cow and its yearling bull calf to Abdi in exchange for food. At this point the story leaps forward to Memed as an undersized year-old youth, still oppressed by Abdi Agha, but determined to make his first trip to town.

While in town, the two boys meet Corporal Hasan, who describes town life and gives them a vision of new possibilities. She and Memed flee at night, bound for the Cukurova. Caught in a downpour, they take shelter and consummate their love in a cave. He then sets out with seven villagers, the jilted bridegroom, and the famed tracker Lame Ali to recapture Memed and Hatche.

Although Lame Ali sympathizes with the lovers, he cannot resist the challenge of tracking them, and the posse catches up with the fugitives in the forest.

Memed, My Hawk eBook by Yashar Kemal | | Booktopia

Drawing his revolver, Memed kills Veli and wounds Abdi. Memed then sends Hatche back to Deyirmenoluk, promising to fetch her later. Now even more of a wanted man, Memed takes refuge in Kesme. In the following months, Memed learns the skills of brigandage but quickly becomes disenchanted with Mad Durdu as a leader. Not only is Mad Durdu capricious and cruel, like Abdi, but reckless as well. He is notorious for humiliating those whom he robs, stealing not only their money but their underclothing as well.

Soon after this incident, Memed visits Deyir-menoluk and learns that he did not in fact kill Abdi Agha; he also hears that his mother died of the injuries Abdi inflicted when he trampled on her and that Hatche has been falsely imprisoned for shooting Veli. Pursued by angry villagers, the trio are forced to flee to the mountains. Sergeant Rejep dies from complications of a recent wound.


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  • Believing that Abdi Agha died in the fire, Memed returns to Deyirmenoluk to distribute the fields that were once controlled by Abdi. When it is discovered that Abdi is still alive, however, nearly half the villagers turn on Memed, condemning him as a presumptuous upstart. Meanwhile, having escaped from the burned-down house, Abdi seeks refuge in the village of Vayvay with a villainous but powerful agha , Ali Safa Bey, who hires a mountain brigand band to terrorize the peasants and steal their land.

    Ali Safa Bey and his henchman, the brigand Kalayji, set a trap to kill Memed, but Memed avoids the trap and kills Kalayji instead. The villagers supply Big [Old] Osman with a large sum of money and send him as an emissary to Memed in the mountains.

    Memed, My Hawk

    Meanwhile, Hatche has been languishing in jail and is about to be transferred from the prison in town to another prison at Kozan, where a harsh final sentence will be passed against her. Parting company from Jabbar, who disapproves of this venture, Memed rescues Hatche from the police in broad daylight, along with her female fellow prisoner Iraz.

    All three escape to the mountains, establishing a hideout in a cave on Mount Alidagi. After several seasons of searching, the police find their refuge. Unable to flee because Hatche has gone into labor with their son, Memed surrenders to police sergeant Asim, but on discovering the true circumstances, Asim relents and lets the new father and his family escape.

    Pursuit of Memed soon resumes, however, under the command of Captain Faruk. During a shootout in Alayar, Hatche is killed by a stray bullet.


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    • During a national holiday in the autumn, the Turkish government declares one of its periodic amnesties to pardon criminals in jail and brigands in the mountains. When Memed enters Deyirmenoluk one day, Big Osman is there with. For hundreds of years, colorful figures—brigands, warriors, tribal chieftains—were immortalized in song and story.

      When I heard the news, I composed a long elegy for him and sang it to my mother. This does not sit well with the villagers of Deyirmenoluk, however. They are disappointed in Memed because they know Abdi will return to oppress them anew. Mother Huru confronts Memed on behalf of Deyirmenoluk and charges him with cowardice. Escaping back to Deyirmenoluk, Memed tells the villagers they have no more claim on him. In Memed, My Hawk the protagonist undergoes an almost mythical transformation from ordinary peasant to folk hero. His shoulders no longer developed, his arms and legs were like dry branches.

      Hollow cheeks, dark face, charred by the sun….