Prosecutor opens probe into Turkish singer's song

The İstanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office has begun an investigation into a song and video broadcast on YouTube eulogizing the suspects in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Prosecutor opens probe into Turkish singer's song

The İstanbul Chief Prosecutor's Office has begun an investigation into a song and video broadcast on YouTube eulogizing the suspects in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

Full of ultra-nationalistic, religious, anti-American and anti-Israel, images, the video set to folk singer İsmail Türüt's song, "Don't Make Any Plans," is threatening, showing the body of the slain editor of the Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos to the lyrics, "If a person betrays the country, he is finished off." The video also contains symbols of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), including its flag and photographs of its buildings.

The İstanbul Police Department prepared a file consisting of the video and related news before sending it to the Chief Prosecutor's Office for investigation, the Anatolia news agency reported. Meanwhile İstanbul Press Prosecutor Nurten Altınok said the investigation will involve both an inquiry into those who posted the video on YouTube and the lyrics, regarding whether or not they relate to a crime.

Türüt and lyricist Ozan Arif will also be investigated. Meanwhile the İstanbul First Criminal Court decided to block access to the video on the Internet. However several more videos have already made their way onto the site, uploaded by dozens of users.

Asked by Today's Zaman whether or not Dink's family plans to file a lawsuit, Dink's lawyer Fethiye Çetin said the song involves upsetting lyrics for the whole of Turkish society, not only the bereaved family. "It is not up to Dink's family to file a lawsuit. It's a public case because the lyrics violate several articles of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). I call on prosecutors to open an investigation," Çetin said.

A prominent member of Turkey's Armenian community, Dink campaigned for Turkish-Armenian reconciliation but was hated by nationalists for describing the killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire as genocide -- a charge that Turkey rejects. Dink's murder shocked the nation and more than 100,000 people marched at his funeral, chanting, "We are all Hrant, we are all Armenian."

Footage leaked to the media at the time showed officers posing with the hit man as he held a Turkish flag, unleashing accusations that some officials may secretly approve of the murder. The video set to Türüt's song also shows a re-enactment of the pictures of Dink's alleged murderer posing in front of the Turkish flag after he was captured.

Türüt, a Black Sea regional folksinger, was quoted by the NTV news channel as saying, "I don't care about the charges. … We try to attract attention to the games being played with the Black Sea region. I have similar songs in my other recordings. I received a lot of congratulatory messages after my recording was released a week ago. However, when I mentioned Armenians in the song, you started screaming and you became Armenians. I think 99 percent of the public shares my views. I don't have any problems with Armenians but with the ones who have a problem with being a Turk. I don't like Dink but I am against his murder."

The Human Rights Association (İHD) and Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER) have announced that they will collectively file a lawsuit against Türüt and Arif. A small party known for its democratic stance, the Strong Turkey Party (GTP), has already filed a criminal complaint with the Şişli Prosecutor's Office relating to Türüt, Arif and the makers of the video on the basis of inciting hatred in society.

Containing images of well-known figures such as Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk, US President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) captured leader Abdullah Öcalan, former Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, writer and artist Zülfü Livaneli, singers Selda Bağcan and Ahmet Kaya, and former Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç, the video makes ultra-nationalist targets of the people it features. According to news reports, the nature scenes shown in the clip are from the Black Sea city of Samsun.

Asked by Today's Zaman about the perceived association between the video and the MHP, General Secretary Cihan Paçacı said he had not seen the video: "I don't understand why you ask me such a question. Anybody can take a picture of our buildings and broadcast it. It's wrong to associate the MHP with the video."

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 18 Eylül 2007, 13:23
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