Turkey investigates singer over song for victims of state violence

The  Turkish government is investigating an 84-year-old musician for dedicating a song to a victim of the Gezi Park protests and three leftist student leaders who were executed by the state, Gazete Duvar reported on Tuesday.

Turkish prosecutors have reportedly launched an investigation against musician Alpay accusing him of praising members of terrorist organizations and degrading the state.

Alpay dedicated a song to Berkin Elvan, a 13-year-old boy who was shot dead with a police tear gas canister during the 2013 Gezi Park protests. The song was also dedicated to Deniz Gezmis, Yusuf Aslan and Huseyin Inan – student leaders of the 1968s protests who were hanged by the government on May 6, 1972.

Alpay devoted his song on the occasion of the 50thanniversary concert on March 22 in Istanbul.

“I will sing my next song for the people who were brutally massacred by the [Turkish] state,” Alpay said.

He told Gazete Duvar in response to the investigation launch that he was undeterred.

“What makes a song devotion to government-killed Deniz Gezmis and his friends, and to Berkin Elvan, who lost his life in Gezi resistance, terrorism? When devoted [at the time], the audience applauded loudly. If devoting a song to Deniz Gezmis and his friends and to Berkin Elvan is terrorism, I then am terrorist. I tell this everywhere,” Alpay said.

Alpay added that he would take legal action regarding the incident.

The singer previously composed a song titled, The Silent Scream of Ethem, in honor of Ethem Sarısuluk who was also shot to death during the Gezi marches in Ankara.

Gezi protests mark a turning point for crackdown on dissidents

The protests began as a bid to stop the proposed demolition of the Gezi Park, one of the last green spaces in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) planned to replace the park with an Ottoman-style shopping mall, a project pushed personally by then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan’s uncompromising stance and a heavy-handed police crackdown on protesters sparked countrywide demonstrations, turning an environmental movement into a revolt against increased authoritarianism.

Eight people died, with at least four due to police violence during the protests according to the Turkish Doctors’ Organization. At least another 8,000 people were injured.

The Gezi demonstrations made the AKP government reverse its decision to build the planned shopping center. Erdogan, however, launched a crackdown on his dissidents who had openly supported the protests. Some lost their jobs, while others faced criminal charges, with hundreds still standing trial.

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