Kurdish writer and activist.
The writer and novelist Mehmed Uzun was one of the most influential figures in the struggle by the Kurds to maintain their culture and identity and to lift ban on Kurdish language and culture from Turkey.
One of the leading poineers of modern Kurdish literature, Mehmed wrote a dozen novels in Kurdish and Turkish, the best known of which is In the Shadow of a Lost Love, where he emphasises the sadness felt by intellectuals who have spent their lives pursuing freedom.
In 1977 he fled Turkey and exiled in Sweden. The campaign by Uzun and others for Kurdish rights in Turkey came to prominence in Europe when Turkey was applying for full membership of the Eurpean Union. Among the preconditions for any approval of Turkey's membership, the EU insisted that it must do more to improve the cultural rights of its Kurdish minority.
In November 2002 the state broadcasting authority of Turkey allowed state radio and television to air a limited number of programme in Kurdish. This breakthrough owed much to Uzun's tireless campaiging efforts. He returned to Turkey in 2005.
Mehmed Uzun who died of stomach cancer was born in Siverek, southeastern Turkey.
Compiled by:M Nauman Khan