Kurdish Alevi singer Ferhat Tunç faces imprisonment of up to 15 years regarding charges of "spreading propaganda for the PKK organization", the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, and "acting on behalf of an illegal organization". The charges are based on a speech Tunç gave at the 1st Eruh-Çirav Nature and Culture Arts Festival (south-eastern Anatolia).
The indictment was prepared by the Public Chief Prosecutor of Diyarbakır in the predominantly Kurdish region of south-eastern Turkey. It is said that the festival fell on the date of 15 August, the anniversary of the first armed activity of the PKK in the Eruh Municipality in the province of Siirt on 15 August 1984. Furthermore, the indictment claims that the festival was organized upon the directive of the PKK, according to the indictment.
bianet talked to the singer. Tunç said that he was ordered to court two weeks ago and gave his statement to the Public Prosecutor of Büyükçekmece, a district on the European side of Istanbul. "We are surprised that the trial has been opened that quickly. Usually, it takes a couple of months", Tunç stated.
Un-detained defendant Tunç is tried under article 7/2 of the Anti-Terrorism Law (TMY) (propaganda for an illegal organization). Additionally, the artist stands accused of "committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member of the organization" according to article 220/6 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). Tunç will be tried at the Diyarbakır High Criminal Court.
The words that brought Tunç to court
The trial against Tunç is based on the following speech:
"I have been an artist and a witness of your experiences in this region for 25 years. I have been an eyewitness of how the murderers in uniform, who are tried because of their connections to the Ergenekon organization, have committed killings and unsolved murders because of this region. I witnessed how these uniformed murderers turned this paradise-like geography into hell. Yes, I am not merely an artist, I am also a witness".
"After 25 years you are opening a new window to peace and brotherhood from Eruh. I am just as excited as you are to turn this march, that you started on the expense of your lives and your blood, towards peace.
"... We are all longing for a Turkey where people can live their own belief, culture and language on equal terms. I say and I hope that our call for peace and brotherhood in Eruh, where the first bullet was shot, will be heard all over Turkey. I hope that our cry for peace will be heard by Turks, Arabs, Armenians and other people in other regions. Because there is no way other than peace and brotherhood and with these feelings I give my regards to all of you".
Pınar Sağ facing prison sentence as well
Turkish Folk Music artist Pınar Sağ faces imprisonment as well because she allegedly praised İbrahim Kaypakkaya, founder of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist Leninist (TKP/ML)-TİKKO organization.
Sağ was ordered to the Şişli (Istanbul) Courthouse to give her statement. She stands trial on the grounds of her announcement in a meeting in Tunceli before the local elections on 29 March 2009. She said, "To the comrades of Kaypakkaya, who always stood upright against the fascist government". Local artist Mehmet Özcan is among the defendants of this case. (EÖ/VK)