Turkey: Singer B



Singer Bülent Ersoy taken to court

The famous transsexual singer Bülent Ersoy has been charged for “alienating the people from military service”.

Bakırköy public prosecutor Ali Çakır asked for three year prison sentence for singer Bülent Ersoy because of what she said in the Turkish tv show ‘Popstar Alaturka’ where she was part of the jury:

“If I had given birth to a child and someone sitting at a desk had said ‘You will do this, he will do that’, and I would then have to bury my child, would you find that acceptable?”

Bülent Ersoy’s statement was examined to determine if it constituted the crime of “alienating the people from military service” – and the investigation concluded that it did. In the court case Bülent Ersoy will be tried under Article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code.

Bülent Ersoy gave her statement to the public prosecutor Ali Çakır on 14 March 2008.

The indictment
According to Freedom of Expression Weekly Bulletin the public prosecutor Ali Çakır based the charge on the following claims:

“ ’Military home’ and ‘Prophet’s home’ are equally holy for the Turkish nation. In all parts of Turkey celebrations sending off people to do their military services is an established tradition. Hence, completion of military service, elevation of ‘martyrdom’ and ‘veteranship’ increases the social status of a person or his family. The phrase ‘every Turk is born as a soldier’ expresses such sublime feelings,” Çakır said in the indictment.

Prosecutor Çakır also argued in the indictment that Ersoy’s intention was “propaganda and call”:

“Considering the space and timing of her comments as a whole, it coincided with the military operation of Turkish Armed Forces in Northern Iraq under difficult winter conditions, and as the families of the soldiers were under pressure and the sensitivity of Turkish nation was at its highest.”

“The message which was to be understood from Ersoy’s comments was a call for families not to send their children to the army… the ones who got killed and died for a meaningless war… that joining the army under those circumstances were irrational. Hence the separatist Roj TV found Ersoy’s comments praiseworthy and praised her attitude the following day,” he told. 

The indictment concluded that Ersoy’s words and ideas were not within the limits of freedom of expression as defined in articles 25 and 26 of the Turkish Constitution.

Bülent Ersoy

3 November 2008

Bülent Ersoy’s next hearing is on 18 December 2008 at 14:00 PM.

Bianet – 10 May 2008:

‘Celebrity Sued For “Alienating People From Military Service”‘

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