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.
“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
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
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.
Bianet – 30 October 2007:
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