ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The Turkish Constitutional Court has ruled to compensate the iconic Kurdish artist Şivan Perwer for “unauthorised use” of his signature song Bejina Zirav, which according to the court had been adapted by the Turkish folk music performer Güler Işık in her Nirim album in 2002.
Perwer had previously filed a lawsuit against the Turkish artist but was rejected compensation by a court in Istanbul in 2013.
The Constitutional Court, however, ruled Wednesday that “the right to a fair trial had been violated in the case of the unauthorized use of the song between the artists Şivan Perwer and Güler Işık for the past 12 years” and said the state had to pay 14,000 lira ($3,700) to Perwer for “non-pecuniary damage.”
"The Applicant has been ordered to refuse the other claims for damages,” the court statement said.
Perwer released his Bejina Zirav hit song on his 1992 album Zembilfros, a decade before it was used by Işık.
Born in Turkey’s Kurdistan in 1955, Perwer became famous in the late 1970s and ’80s for singing about the oppression of his fellow Kurds in their homelands. He left Turkey in 1976 and lived in exile for 37 years.
His return Turkey in 2013 opened up a divide among Turkey's Kurds, who accused the legendary singer of compromising the Kurdish cause.
In an interview with Rudaw
a month after he played his first concert in Turkey in nearly four decades, Perwer described his joy of returning to his home and his warm welcome from the people but frost from Kurdish politicians.
“My dream was to return to Amed [Diyarbakir] one day to organize a concert and see people greet me and tell me that I am welcome to my home. This was 37 years ago. The situation has changed now, but like a young tree it still needs care and a lot has to be done,” he said.