Saturday, 10 May 2008

Famous transsexual Turkish singer sued for “alienating people from military service”

Turkey's penal code definitely does not suffer from the lack of articles restricting freedom of expression.

And it is not only that infamous article 301 on "denigrating Turkishness" which recently underwent cosmetic changes only. There is also article 318 on “alienating people from military service” under which a famous transsexual Turkish singer Bülent Ersoy is being sued now.

Bianet reports:

In a TV show during the Northern Iraq military operation, the famous singer Ersoy demanded “solution instead of death” and Bakırköy Public Prosecutor sues her for “alienating people from military service.”

The famous transsexual singer Bülent Ersoy is sued for “alienating people from military service.”

According to daily Taraf, the authorities decided to open a case against Ersoy for “alienating people from military service” after investigating her words regarding how she would not sent her son to someone else’s war, which were said during a TV show.

Her words which brought the case were: “If I had given birth to a child and someone sitting at a desk had said ‘You will do this, he will do that’, and I would have buried my child, would I accept that?”

According to the report mentioned above, Bakırköy Public Prosecutor Ali Çakır asked for three year prison sentence for Bülen Ersoy, claiming that she committed the crime of “alienating people from military service.” Not only that the public prosecutor did not see Ersoy’s explanations within the context of freedom of expression and critique, he also included her speech in the scope of article 318, which regulates the deed of “alienating people from military service”, found under the category of crimes committed against the national defense, and thus first asked for two year prison sentence.

Ersoy gave her statement to the Public Prosecutor Ali Çakır on March 14.


Turkey's gay magazine publishes 100th edition

On a more positive note, Turkey's first and only gay magazine “Kaos GL,” being produced for 15 years has been published for the 100th time (Turkish Daily News):

"The latest edition of the magazine includes articles and interviews by renowned personalities such as, Adnan Yıldız, Aksu Bora, Ayşe Düzkan, Kürşad Kahramanoğlu, Murathan Mungan, Tanıl Bora, Tuğrul Eryılmaz, Yıldırım Türker, Naim Dilmener and Zeynep Aksoy. They all contributed to the 100th edition.

  The magazine, which was just an eight-page photocopy when it was first published, has played an important role in drawing attention to the rights of homosexuals.

  The edition covers 100 songs, films and books that have an important place in homosexual culture. There is an interview with Hande Yener, the famous Turkish pop singer, who was chosen as Turkey's “gay icon” in a poll of Kaos GL readers. Letters from gay parents are also part of the content. "

*source of photo - Wikipedia


artmika said...

Follow-up, via BBC:

Turkish singer defiant in court

A popular Turkish singer has defended public statements that Turkey's long conflict with Kurdish rebels needs a solution - not more deaths.

Bulent Ersoy made her comments at a court hearing in Istanbul, after being charged with attempting to turn the public against military service.

The transsexual singer also suggested that if she had a son she would not send him to fight.

If found guilty, she faces up to four-and-a-half years in prison.

Ms Ersoy made her comments about Turkey's powerful military on television last February.

The Turkish army was conducting a major operation against the rebel Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in northern Iraq at the time.

Some 40,000 people have died since the conflict with the PKK began in 1984.

Defiant stance

Ms Ersoy arrived at court in her usual, flamboyant style - dressed in white flowing linen, golden gem-studded sandals and matching accessories, says the BBC's Sarah Rainsford, who was present at the trial.

As photographers surrounded her, a few supporters held up signs reading Long live the Diva, our correspondent says.

The prosecutor accuses Bulent Ersoy of making dangerous propaganda for the PKK, describing military service as the "sacred duty" of every Turk.

But Ms Ersoy told the judge she had committed no crime.

The singer said she stood by her words and her right to express her thoughts freely - as a loyal citizen of her country.

"Even if they hang me, I'll keep talking," she said.

It was a defiant stance, but this case has exposed the limits on free speech in Turkey once again - a country whose military remains extremely powerful, its reputation and actions protected from criticism by law, our correspondent says.

Ms Ersoy did not show up in court when the trial opened in June, saying she had to attend a concert.

'Risky business'

Ms Ersoy is Turkey's best known diva, adored across the country, our correspondent says.

She was already one of the country's most popular male singers when in 1981 she underwent a sex change operation.

But questioning the Turkish military can be a risky business, our correspondent says.

Article 318 of the penal code - dissuading people from military service - is frequently used by the military against its critics.

Meanwhile critics say a separate article, making it a crime to insult the Turkish nation and its institutions, is used to stifle free speech.

see also

Transsexual Turk upsets military

artmika said...

Turkey LGBT news update: Bülent Ersoy, Lambda Istanbul, EU report, UN statement, PEN Turkey