Ferhat Tunc campaign 2005

6 December 2005
Musicians join Freemuse in appeal to Turkish Government  


Freemuse is launching an international campaign requesting the Turkish State to drop its case against singer Ferhat Tunç who is to appear in court on December 28, 2005. If convicted, he will face one to three years of imprisonment.

In a letter to the Prime Minister and Minister of Justice in Turkey, musicians from six countries are joining the Freemuse campaign for the “immediate dismissal of the case against Mr. Ferhat Tünc.”
The letter also request a review of Turkish legislation, with the aim of removing any remaining laws that can lead to the imprisonment of artists for practicing their right to free expression. The letter conveys deep concern about “the continuous harassment of” Ferhat Tunç by Turkish Authorities. It also expresses “regret that Turkey continues censoring and prosecuting its artists during a time when Turkey’s Human Rights and Free Expression records are under international scrutiny.”


The musicians campaigning for Ferhat Tünc are Salman Ahmad (Pakistan/USA), Joelle Khoury (Lebanon), Marcel Khalife (Lebanon/France), Mark LeVine (USA), Khaled Al Shaykh (Bahrain) and Reda Zine (France).

“Deep judiciary”
Ferhat Tunç will appear in court on December 28th, 2005.  He will be tried according to article 159 of the [former] Turkish Penal Code, as a result of using the phrase “deep judiciary” in an article he wrote to the daily GÜNDEM. The 1st hearing on December 2nd, 2004, was postponed until March 9th, 2005, to allow time for additional documents to be gathered.
Ferhat Tunç stated in his defense that he did not mean to insult the court, he only meant to criticise. He also said he was upset that the charges were not dropped at the first hearing.
If convicted, he will face one to three years of imprisonment. The article which opposes “insulting the Republic, the President, Parliament, judiciary, security forces…” has since been amended through the so called “harmonization laws” which highlight that “critics could not be interpreted as insult.”

Accused of blasphemy
The Freemuse campaign is the first ever where musicians from several countries are supporting a colleague in a campaign for freedom of expression. Several of the musicians have faced censorship in their home countries.
In 1999 Marcel Khalife was accused in Beirut of blasphemy for singing a song ‘Oh my father. I am Yusuf’, based on a poem by Mahmoud Darwish. “We must eliminate censorship”, Khalife said at a recent Freemuse conference in Beirut.
Salman Ahmad and his group Junoon have faced censorship at several occasions in Pakistan.

  Visit Ferhat Tunc's website
Ferhat Tunç

Visit Ferhat Tunc’s website


News update
19 January 2007:

One more judicial inquiry against Ferhat Tunç


News update
13 February 2006:

Ferhat Tunç published a new article on 30 December 2005, entitled “Praise Be for 301 Times”. As a result, the Turkish Ministry of Justice has opened a judicial inquiry.
Read more…


News update
28 December 2005:

Ferhat Tunç appeared in court


Read the musician’s appeal

Background: “Two freedom of Expression Cases in Court” at
BIA News Center


More about Ferhat Tunç:


Turkey: Ferhat Tunç’s prison sentence turned into speaking ban
A court turned Ferhat Tunç’s two years prison sentence for having promoted İbrahim Kaypakkaya into a three year ban on speaking about the same subject
20 December 2012
Freemuse: Manu Chao supports Freemuse campaign
“Freedom of expression is important to anyone and we must fight for it. I am supporting the work of Freemuse and I’m here to help,” says singer Manu Chao
28 August 2012
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç sentenced to two years in prison
A court in the eastern province of Malatya sentenced the Kurdish singer on terrorism related charges due to his invocation during a speech he held in 2011
27 June 2012
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç in court once again
Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç is the target of seven investigations and two trials due to speeches he held during his campaign for the general elections in June 2011
16 December 2011
Singer and politician Ferhat Tunç receives violence threats
A gendarmerie commander reportedly ordered village guards to “break Ferhat Tunç’s legs” as Ferhat Tunç was starting a tour in villages in Cemisgezek/Dersim area
11 May 2011
Turkey: New court case against Ferhat Tunç is ‘copy-pasted’
The Turkish courts appear to be ‘copy-pasting’ cases against the popular Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç, and the agenda is allegedly to intimidate and silence him
30 March 2011
Music Freedom Day: Meanwhile in Turkey, musicians are persecuted
Singer Ferhat Tunç wrote this article as a personal comment to the Music Freedom Day initiative, describing the current situation for more than a dozen musicians in his country
03 March 2011
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç receives 25 days prison sentence
The Kurdish-Turkish singer Ferhat Tunç was sentenced to 25 days in prison for a speech he made during a concert in 2006
27 January 2011
Turkey: Supreme Court re-opens case against Ferhat Tunç
Going to court is becoming a repeatative nightmare for the Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç
04 January 2011
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç on trial again
Singer Ferhat Tunç was first acquitted, but then Chamber 9 of the Appeal Court rejected the decision, and Tunç will now be tried again.
31 December 2010
Radio Without Borders: Listen to the Banned
Here on Earth – Radio Without Borders, a one-hour live programme on Wisconsin Public Radio broadcasted a special feature programme about the album ‘Listen to the banned’
10 November 2010
Turkey: Ferhat Tunc acquitted and immediately charged again
One day after the court in Diyabarkir acquitted Ferhat Tunç the Istanbul police turned up at his home today to inform the singer that he will be charged in two new cases
05 November 2010
Turkey: Ferhat Tunç acquitted
Freemuse Award winner, Ferhat Tunç was acquitted this morning from the Diyarbarkir Criminal Court in Turkey
04 November 2010
Songlines review of Freemuse CD: ‘It is Top of the World’
Songlines, an influential UK-based world music magazine, has chosen the CD ‘Listen to the banned’ as Top of the World in their August 2010 issue
11 August 2010
Turkey: Date of next hearing set in Ferhat Tunç’s case
The date for the next hearing in the case against musician and Freemuse Award winner Ferhat Tunç has been set to 30 September 2010
04 August 2010

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