|The pattern is well known by now. As soon as the Kurdish-Turkish singer Ferhat Tunç has been acquitted, a new court case is being opened against him. The Turkish courts appear to be ‘copy-pasting’ cases against the popular singer, and the agenda is allegedly to intimidate and silence him.
Ferhat Tunç has stopped counting the number of cases that has been opened against him in the past years. The pattern, however, is very clear. Turkish prosecutors open hundreds of cases against artists, intellectuals and journalists for any reason they can find. Several observers believe that cases are opened in order to intimidate and silence artists and intellectuals – often with vague arguments such as “anti-Turkishness” or “propaganda for terrorism”.
On 26 March 2011 a new case was opened against the popular Turkish-Kurdish in Diyarbakır. The allegations – “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” – are neither new nor surprising.
“It seems as if Turkish courts are copy-pasting their cases against Ferhat Tunç,” says Marie Korpe, Freemuse Executive Director, in a comment to the latest of the seemingly endless allegations against the Kurdish singer and Freemuse Award winner Ferhat Tunç.
The first hearing of this trial will be held at the Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court on 26 May 2011.
Acquitted in 2007
Ferhat Tunç was acquitted from Izmir High Criminal Court in October 2007. The allegations were similar and the court decided that the singer had not done anything criminal.
The new case is ‘copy-pasted’. Ferhat Tunç used the word ‘guerrilla’ in a speech during his performance at a concert on 7 August 2010 organised by the Association for Sustainment and Support of Culture in Kiğı, a district of the Kurdish-majority city of Bingöl in south-eastern Turkey.
The charges – according to Bianet, a leading Turkish newsmedia – stem from the following statement preceding the concert: “Blood is being shed in this country; the blood of our children we sent to the military, of Kurdish children who have been hiding in the mountains for years, and of the Kurdish guerrilla. We do not want anybody to die. We want this war to stop immediately.”
‘Kafkaesque’ Turkish court system
In an announcement made to Bianet, Ferhat Tunç said that many people are facing trial by reason of calling the guerrilla ‘guerrilla’. Tunç himself was on trial for the same reason in a different law suit before and acquitted after three years of procedures.
Tunç stated that he would not take anything back. He summed up his point of view as follows:
“The guerrilla is called ‘guerrilla’. There is no other explanation. I do not think that even literature refers to it in any other way. The message I gave to the prosecution was about peace. However, they say I made propaganda for a terrorist organisation with that message. So you can talk about peace but they define the limits of that talk.”
The new case against Ferhat Tunç is the fourth pending in the ‘Kafkaesque’ Turkish court system, which is frequently criticised by international human rights organisations.
Of all pending applications allocated to a judicial formation at the European Court of Human Rights, cases against the Turkish State represent 10 per cent of all cases.
It has been pointed out several times by members of the European Parliament and leading European politicians that many of the cases are considered a major obstacle to the Turkish ambition of becoming a regular member of the EU.