Turkey: Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunc threatened in the virtual world


Singer Ferhat Tunç threatened in the virtual world

Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç was acquitted in a trial in Izmir in October 2007, but he says that he has never before felt as unsafe in Turkey as he does now. Death threats against him are published on the internet, and on 13 December he must defend himself in court again, facing three years imprisonment if convicted.

Five days after the murder of Hrant Dink, the late editor in chief of AGOS weekly, an e-mail was sent to the Turkish Security Headquarters saying “We killed Hrant Dink. Osman Baydemir, Metin Tekçe and Ferhat Tunç are next. Protect them if you can” – signed by Turkish Revenge Squads (TIT). In November 2007 the Kurdish musician has again been reminded that there are people who threaten to take his life.

In a message published on www.cihanturkolsun.com Ferhat Tunç is called a “dog, dishonourable”, and an anonymous writer states that “All those who disagree with saying ‘How Happy is a man who can say I am a Turk’ are enemies and will remain that way”, adding that “living means deserving death”.

On another page a folk song sung by Ferhat Tunç is being used as the background soundtrack to a video clip which shows pictures of members of the military wing of the Kurdish PKK who lost their lives.

“Dark forces had already listed many people, including myself, as targets following the murder of Hrant Dink. The recent increase of racism and chauvinism on the internet as well as in the streets is a matter of serious concern,” Ferhat Tunç said.

“This may sound pessimistic. Yet I am trying not to be pessimistic, despite all odds. I want to believe in the common sense of the people of Turkey,” he said.

Call on authorities to act
Ferhat Tunç said he would file a complaint against the website to the authorities, and also criticised the attitude of Turkish media which he said has an irresponsible approach to the problems.

The Istanbul branch of Human Rights Association – a non-governmental organisation with close to 16,000 members in Turkey – issued a statement which said that the organisation is worried about the rising tension, and that it condemns “such ill threats against Ferhat Tunç”. It also called on the authorities to act.

Still on trial
Singer Ferhat Tunc has been on trial for the last three years for an article entitled “A Revolutionary Leyla and a Song”, published in the Yeniden Gündem newspaper on 19 January 2004. He has been charged with “degrading and ridiculing the court”, and up to three years imprisonment is being demanded. In the article, he had criticised the detention and trial of Leyla Zana who at the time was a member of Parliament, and the former DEP Members of Parliament.

The trial is set to continue on 13 December 2007 at the Beyoglu 2nd Penal Court in Istanbul. The newspaper’s responsible editor, Mehmet Colak, who lives abroad, is also being tried.

Ferhat Tunç
– under pressure in Turkey


Bianet – 30 October 2007:
‘Third Quarterly Media Monitoring Report’

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