The life of Cem Karaca, the legend of Anatolian rock music, becomes a movie

After Müslüm Gürses, Bergen, Dilberay and Barış Akarsu died on 6 February 2004 at the age of 58, Cem Karaca’s life is also becoming a movie.

According to the news of Birsen Altuntaş from TV100, the screenplay of the film will be told about the life of Cem Karaca, one of the founders of the Anatolian rock genre and one of the pioneers of creating a strong rock culture, which is planned to be released in the last quarter of 2023. ‘Baris Stream: Hello’ Mert Dikmen, one of the screenwriters and director of the movie, will write.

The person who will play the role of Cem Karaca is already a matter of great curiosity.


The famous artist with the full name Muhtar Cem Karaca was born on April 5, 1945 in Istanbul. Cem Karaca, whose father is Mehmet Karaca of Azerbaijani origin and whose mother is Toto Karaca (Irma Felegyan) of Armenian origin, grew up intertwined with art. Having completed his secondary education at Robert High School, Cem Karaca’s first encounter with music was when his mother’s aunt, Rosa Felegyan, taught Cem Karaca piano notes and piano tunes. Karaca’s voice talent was discovered by her mother, Toto Karaca.

He sang at the request of his friends at Beyoğlu Sports Club in 1962, then decided to form a band. Ilham Gencer, one of the famous artists of that period, supported the group. Cem Karaca’s first group was Dynamics in 1963. At the end of 1963, the group disbanded. He played in a band called “Cem Karaca and What You Expect” for a short time. Shortly after this group, he played in Gökçen Kaynatan’s orchestra, but this draw did not last long. In the same year, “Cem Karaca and Jaguars” was founded. They applied for the Golden Microphone competition in 1965 but failed to qualify.

Karaca made his first marriage to theater artist Semra Özgür in 1965. 3 days after marriage, Karaca went to the army. During this period, Karaca began to recognize the Anatolian culture. He met Aşık Mahzuni Şerif, one of the Turkish poets. Cem Karaca met the band Apaşlar, founded by guitarist Mehmet Soyarslan in February 1967. Karaca joined the Golden Microphone 1967 with the group. The Emrah song they participated in the competition was a Karaca composition made for the poem of Emrah from Erzurum. Karaca’s group came in second in the competition. Cem Karaca and Apaşlar went to Germany in 1968 and recorded 45s with the Ferdy Klein Orchestra. During this period, Soyarslan’s song “Picture Tears” became Karaca’s second hit after Emrah. After this record, there was a big tour of Turkey. In addition, concerts continued in Germany. An English 45 was also recorded to expand abroad. These were the English versions of Tears in the Picture and Emrah. During this period, Cem Karaca married the theater artist Meriç Başaran. At the end of the year, he placed 4th in Milliyet’s 1968 “Most Favorite Male Singers” poll. In the “Melodies of the Year” survey, “Gözyaşları” in the picture ranked 3rd among Turkish songs. In the mixed list of Turkish and foreigners, “Gözyaşları in the Pictures” came in ninth, and Cem Karaca’s composition “Fields of Hope” came in 24th.

The group disbanded after the record “Let It Be the Last / Felek Beni”. In the same year, Cem Karaca started to produce and manage the Depression group. Cem Karaca’s name is also mentioned in the lyrics and composition of both of their first 45 songs “Taş Var Dog Yok Yok/Enough Now Women”. Karaca, who quit this job after this 45, took the band’s drummer Hüseyin Sultanoğlu to his band Kardaşlar. At the beginning of 1970, there were many changes in the band members. After the band members were fixed, they decided to record in Germany, but due to the epidemic, Karaca and Kardaşlar could not go to Germany. That’s why Cem Karaca went to Cologne alone. He recorded his own compositions and Anatolian folk songs with the Ferdy Klein orchestra. In November 1970, Karaca and Kardaşlar released “Dadaloğlu/Kalender” 45.

Cem Karaca started 1972 with an award. He was named the “Best Male Singer of 1971” by Hey Magazine and participated in Hey’s tour. However, disagreements began to occur with Kardaşlar guitarist Seyhan Karabay and Karaca parted ways with Kardaşlar. Cem Karaca left Kardaşlar and left Anatolia. rockWhile the strong voice of ‘s united with the Mongols, the Kardaşlar included Ersen Dinleten, who could not get along with the Mongols, into their group. In November 1972, they performed for the first time in a concert for Hey magazine. At the end of the year, in Milliyet’s survey, Cem Karaca came second in the list of the best male singers, while the Mongols were selected as the best local ensemble. In Hey Magazine, they were both ranked #1 in their respective branches. The main success of the group was achieved with the song “Honor Trouble” recorded at the beginning of 1974. The song became so popular that its story was published as a comic in Hey magazine. However, after this record, when Cahit Berkay decided to continue his work in France, Cem Karaca and the Mongols parted ways.

Cem Karaca, who left the Mongols, first formed the group “Karasaban” with the Mongolian members Mithat Danışan and Turhan Yükseler, who did not go to France, but it did not last long. He founded the Dervişan group in March 1974. “The Handyman’s Apprentice” was published in February 1975. At the end of 1975, “Absolutely My Baby/Kavga” 45 was released. In the same year, Cem Karaca was once again selected as the best male singer by Hey magazine. Cem Karaca and Dervisan parted ways at the beginning of 1978 after the 1 May record.

Cem Karaca founded a music group, mostly from Kurtalan Ekspres, after Dervisan. He named it Edirdahan, inspired by the two ends of Turkey, Edirne and Ardahan. However, after 20 days, Kurtalan Ekspres members returned to their old groups, and the group underwent a staff change. In 1978, Cem Karaca released Safinaz, his first and last single recorded with Edirdahan. Cem Karaca succeeded in giving a concert at the world famous Rainbow Arena in London in 1979. In 1979, the group disbanded, and Cem Karaca began working solo for the first time in many years, without a group by his side. During this period he also moved to Germany. Karaca was stripped of his Turkish citizenship on January 6, 1983, on the same day as Yılmaz Güney, for various reasons. He was acquitted of the case that led to his removal from citizenship. In 1987, the arrest warrant in absentia for him was annulled. On 29 June 1987, Cem Karaca returned to Turkey.

On July 22, 1992, his mother Toto Karaca passed away. Cem Karaca was not actively interested in music for a while. In 1994, he presented the program called Raptiye on TRT. In 1995, he made the Cem Karaca Show on Flash TV, and in 1996 the program “I Tell My Master” on the same channel. He went to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 95 with an artist group and supported the Bosnians who were in a difficult situation after the war. The artist’s return to music was with Ağır Roman, which was released at the end of 1997. In 2000, he sang some of the music of Kahpe Byzantium, in which Cem Karaca also took part. In May 2001, after the death of Barış Manço, he started to play with Kurtalan Ekspres, who was left without a vocalist. The artist also took part in various theater plays, TV series and movies.


On February 8, 2004, he suffered a severe heart attack due to respiratory and heart failure. He died at the age of 58 in the hospital where he was taken. In the statement made by the hospital, the cause of death of Karaca was stated as cardiac and respiratory arrest. He was buried in the same grave with his father in Karacaahmet Cemetery on February 9, 2004.

Cem Karaca made his first marriage to Semra Özgür on December 22, 1965. Karaca started to have a relationship with Meriç Başaran at the end of 1968. In October 1968, Karaca married Başaran for the second time. This marriage also lasted 2 years. He made his third marriage with Feride Balkan on August 21, 1972. In 1976, the couple’s son Emrah Karaca was born. The couple separated during Cem Karaca’s compulsory living in Germany. On July 5, 1993, Cem Karaca married for the fourth time with his first wife, Semra Özgür. Cem Karaca’s last marriage was with İlkim Erkan.