Turkish singer: Makers of the video have no character

Folk singer İsmail Türüt has condemned the makers of the video set to his song and broadcast on YouTube.

Turkish singer: Makers of the video have no character

Folk singer İsmail Türüt has condemned the makers of the video set to his song and broadcast on YouTube; the controversial images and lyrics that eulogized the suspects in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink have already caused the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor to begin an investigation into the song and the video.

"I'm so bothered by the video. It's so despicable. The ones who made it have no character. It's not suitable with my character and beliefs. I condemn the makers of the video. My song doesn't have any relation to Hrant Dink or his murder," the singer said yesterday.

The video, set to his 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." Türüt said he talked to his lawyer and will do whatever necessary to find the makers of the video and have them punished.

He also said he was disturbed by the Jan. 19 murder of Dink, saying: "I wish he hadn't been killed. Nobody can take another's life. I'm a Muslim and that's my belief."

Indicating that he reads the columns of almost every Turkish writer, including Dink, Türüt said he hadn't agreed with Dink's views, but nor did he agree with his murder. "You don't have to agree with somebody's views, but you can't kill him because you don't agree with him," he elaborated.

Asked by Today's Zaman about his song's ultra-nationalistic tone, Türüt, a Black Sea regional folksinger, said he wanted to draw attention to his region: "I desired to attract attention to the games being played with the Black Sea region. I have similar songs in my other recordings. This one is misinterpreted. I received a lot of congratulatory messages from the public after my recording was released a week ago." Türüt claimed that Greece and Russia have designs on the Turkish Black Sea region and plans to divide the country and that's what concerns him.

The İstanbul Police Department prepared a file on Monday consisting of the video and related news before sending it to the Chief Prosecutor's Office for investigation. 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 constitute a crime. Türüt and lyricist Ozan Arif will also be investigated. The Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (MAZLUM-DER) have also announced that they will collectively file a lawsuit against Türüt and Arif.

Türüt said he will testify today at the Sultanahmet Court in İstanbul.

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."

Dink's family asked prosecutors to take judicial action against the police on charges of protecting Dink's murderer in July. The application concerned members of security forces who took "souvenir pictures" with the 17-year-old self-confessed killer, O.S., after he was captured in the northern Black Sea city of Samsun, a day after shooting Dink in İstanbul, on Jan. 19. 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.

Is it freedom of speech?

Meanwhile Ankara Bar Association President Ahsen Coşar said he doesn't want to believe reports that one of his colleagues, the İzmir Bar Association president, supported Türüt's right to sing that song. "If he supported Türüt's right to sing such a song -- as Türüt and the writer of the lyrics are under investigation -- it is very unfortunate for us. Türüt and Arif's unlawful acts are being investigated. He shouldn't be making a statement about it. It's unfortunate that a bar association's president does something like that," Coşar said yesterday.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency late on Monday, İzmir Bar Association President Nevzat Erdemir supported Türüt's right to sing his song saying there was nothing wrong being "patriotic" and expressing one's feelings through a song. Erdemir yesterday clarified his position to the Cihan news agency, explaining that he doesn't support Türüt but his right to freedom of speech.

Today's Zaman

Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2007, 18:22
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