- 1 – 7 Nisan Raporu Türkçe
- 1 – 7 April Report Engilsh
1-7 Nisan Türkiye’de Sanatsal İfade Özgürlüğü Raporu
“Kızılcık Şerbeti”ne 5 Hafta Yayın Yasağı ve 1,5 Milyon TL Ceza
01 Nisan 2023
Radyo ve Televizyon Yüksek Kurulu (RTÜ)K Show TV’de yayınlanan “Kızılcık Şerbeti” dizisine “kadına şiddet” gerekçesiyle 5 hafta durdurma ve 1,5 milyon liralık idari para cezası verdi.
Gazeteci Birsen Altuntaş’ın haberine göre, yayın durdurma cezası kararı Show TV’ye tebliğ edildi. Kanal pazartesi günü karara karşı itiraz hakkını kullanacak. İtiraz talebi olumsuz sonuçlanırsa, 7 Nisan tarihinden itibaren 5 hafta boyunca “Kızılcık Şerbeti” dizisi ekrana gelemeyecek.
Mahkeme RTÜK’ün kararı doğrultusunda hüküm belirtse bile sürecin tamamlanmasına kadar dizinin iki ya da üç bölüm daha yayınlanması bekleniyor.
Başrollerini Sıla Türkoğlu, Doğukan Güngör, Evrim Alasya, Barış Kılıç, Sibel Taşçıoğlu, Settar Tanrıöğen ve Ceren Karakoç’un üstlendiği dizinin 10 Mart 2023 günü yayınlanan 10. Bölümünde Nursema adlı karakterin, ailesinin zorla evlendirdiği erkek tarafından camdan aşağı atılması üzerine 13 Mart günü soruşturulma başlatılmış. (Kaynak: https://www.reportare.com/soz/kizilcik-serbeti-dizisi-icin-rtuk-inceleme-baslatti/)
RTÜK’ün CHP’li üyesi İlhan Taşçı, 22 Mart günü yüzde 5 para ve 5 kez program durdurma cezası verildiğini duyurmuştu. (Kaynak: https://www.reportare.com/soz/rtukten-show-tvye-kizilcik-serbeti-cezasi/)
“Kızılcık Şerbeti” dizisinde Doğa karakterini canlandıran Sıla Türkoğlu, tepkisini “RTÜK Kızılcık Şerbetine Dokunma” etiketiyle yaptığı paylaşımda “Toplumumuzda kadınlarımızın yaşadığı acı gerçeklerle yüzleştirdiğimiz ve susan kadın karakterler göstermediğimiz için mi?” dedi.
Dizide Alev karakterini canlandıran Müjde Uzman da aynı etiket ile “Sanat; eleştirir. Ayna tutar. İyiye, güzele olan algıyı ve ilgiyi geliştirir. Doğru söyleyeni dokuz köyden kovarlar. Biz buradayız” diyerek eleştirisini dile getirdi.
“RTÜK Kızılcık Şerbetine Dokunma” etiketine Nurgül Yeşilay, Doğukan Güngör, Devrim Özkan gibi sanatçılar destek verdi.
Şarkıcı Hadise, 2018 yılında “Sıfır Tolerans” şarkısına getirilen yasağı hatırlatarak, diziye verilen cezayı eleştirdi:
“2018 yılında Sıfır Tolerans klibime vurulan erotik damgası ve tv kanallarında yayınlanmaması için verilen yasaktan sonra RTÜK kararları ve yasakları beni artık hiç şaşırtmıyor. O zaman da susmadım yine susmuyorum! Kızılcık Şerbeti dizisine verilen bu yasağı anlamsız ve gereksiz buluyorum. Kadına şiddeti dizileri yasaklayarak durduramayacağınızı anladığınız ve somut adımlar attığınız günleri görmek dileği ile…”
Oyuncular Sendikası: Kızılcık Şerbeti’ne Verilen Ceza Sansürdür!
3 Nisan 2023
Oyuncular Sendikası, Show TV’de yayınlanan ‘Kızılcık Şerbeti‘ dizisine Radyo ve Televizyon Üst Kurulu (RTÜK) tarafından verilen beş program durdurma cezasını “sansür” olarak değerlendirdiklerini belirterek, karardan dönülmesi çağrısında bulundu.
Muhafazakâr ve laik yaşam tarzı çatışmasını iki aile üzerinden anlatan dizi, son dönemde “muhafazakâr aile yapısına saldırdığı” öne sürülerek hedef haline getirilmişti. Bu konuda soruşturma başlatan RTÜK, kanala 5 hafta yayın yasağı ve 1,5 Milyon TL para cezası verdi. Karar 1 Nisan 2023 tarihinde Show TV’ye tebliğ edildi.
Oyuncular Sendikası cezanın uygulanması halinde oyuncuların ve teknik ekibin yaşayacağı mağduriyete de değinilen açıklamada şu ifadeler kullanıldı:
“Toplumun kutuplaştırıldığı, kadına yönelik şiddetin ve cinayetlerin arttığı, 6284 sayılı kadına karşı şiddetin önlenmesi kanununun yürürlükten kaldırılmasının konuşulduğu günlerde, söz konusu dizideki eleştirel sahnelerin ‘kadına şiddet’ olarak algılanmasını hayretle takip ediyor ve bu sansürü kabul etmiyoruz.
Oyuncular Sendikası olarak soruyoruz: Yayının durdurulma süreci boyunca hem oyuncuların hem de teknik ekibin maddi ve manevi olarak mağduriyetleri nasıl giderilecektir? Bu süre boyunca çalışmayacak olan oyuncular ve teknik ekipler hayatlarını nasıl devam ettireceklerdir?
“Sansür oyuncuların çalışma hayatlarını doğrudan etkilemektedir. Bu nedenle karardan vazgeçilmeli, sanatsal ifade özgürlüğünün önündeki engellemeler son bulmalıdır.”
Ordu’da “Üç Kız” Heykeline Dördüncü Saldırı
4 Nisan 2023
Ordu’nun Altınordu ilçesinde şehrin yöresel türküsü ‘Tabya başında üç kız yan yana’dan esinlenerek yapılan ve açık havada sergilenen “Üç Kız” heykeli yine tahrip edildi. Heykel daha önce üç kez saldırıya uğramıştı.
Kimliği belirsiz kişi ya da kişiler, heykellerden birinin daha ayağını gövdesinden ayırdı. Belediye, saldırıyı polise bildirdi. Olayla ilgili soruşturma başlatan polis, çevredeki güvenlik kamerası görüntülerini incelemeye aldı.
Üzerine yazılar yazılarak zarar verilen heykeller, 2013 yılında heykeltıraş Özgür Özmen tarafından bakıma alınmıştı. Yeniden yerlerine konan heykellerden birinin başı 2016’da gövdesinden kırılıp zarar verilmişti. Tadilatı yapılan heykel, tekrar yerine yerleştirilmişti. Geçen yıl kasım ayında da heykellerden birinin ayağı gövdesinden ayrılmıştı. Ordu Büyükşehir Belediyesi, heykelin ayağının tadilatı için çalışma başlatmıştı.
Yeşim Salkım Cumhurbaşkanına Hakaret Davasında Beraat Etti
5 Nisan 2023
Şarkıcı Yeşim Salkım Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’a hakaret ettiği iddiasıyla yargılandığı davada beraat etti. Karar 3 Nisan 2023 tarihinde görülen duruşmada verildi, Yeşim Salkım beraat haberini bir gün sonra Instagram hesabından duyurdu.
Salkım hakkındaki dava Sisi adıyla tanınan Seyhan Soylu’nun 2022 yılının Eylül ayında avukatı aracılığıyla savcılığa başvurarak yaptığı şikâyet üzerine açılmıştı. Yeşim Salkım’ın yargılanmasına giden süreç şarkıcı Murat Övüç ile sosyal medya üzerinden başlayan ve aylarca süren karşılıklı tartışmayla başlamıştı. İkiliyi barıştırmak isteyen Seyhan Soylu ise daha sonra Yeşim Salkım’ın kendisine yanıt için çektiği videoda Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan’a “diktatör” dediğini gerekçe göstererek şikâyetçi olmuştu. Davanın ilk duruşması 8 Kasım 2022 tarihinde görülmüştü.
İstanbul 36’ıncı Asliye Ceza Mahkemesi’nde görülen davada Yeşim salkım hakkında 1 yıl 2 aydan 4 yıl 8 aya kadar hapis cezası isteniyordu.
TYB 2022 Raporu Yayımlandı: “Bağımsız Yayıncılık 7 Yıl Geriye Gitti”
6 Nisan 2023
Türkiye Yayıncılar Birliği (TYB) 2022 Kitap Pazarı Raporu’nu yayımladı. Raporda pandeminin etkilerinin hâlâ sürmekte olduğu söylenirken dünyada yaşanan kâğıt kriziyle ülkemizde yaşanan döviz krizinin, yayıncılık sektörünü büyük bir darboğaza sürüklediği belirtildi.
Bağımsız yayıncılık sektöründe önceki yıla göre %13 küçülme gerçekleşirken “sonuçlar sektörün 7 yıl geriye gittiğini göstermektedir” denildi. Akademik yayıncılık, öğrenci başına 0,63 kitabın düştüğü bir yerdeyken bu yayınların sektöre oranı sadece %1,38 oldu.
MEB’in 110 milyon adet yardımcı kitabın ücretsiz dağıtılacağını ilan etmesinin de sektöre darbe vurduğu belirtilen raporda “2022 yılında eğitim yayıncılığı, kitap üretiminde bir önceki yıla göre %22,23 geriye düşmüş ve eğitim alanında üretilen kitaplar ilk kez sektörün %50’sinin altına gerilemiştir” denildi.
Türkiye yayıncılık perakende pazarının büyüklüğü 2021 yılına göre enflasyondan arındırılmamış cari fiyatlarla %83,68 artış gösterirken dolar bazında değerlendirildiğinde sektörde 2021 yılına göre %17,57’lik bir gerileme yaşandığı yine raporda belirtilen olumsuzluklar arasında yer alıyor.
Tüm bu veriler, Türkiye’de yayıncılığın geldiği noktanın, özellikle edebiyat alanında sanatsal ifade özgürlüğünü tehdit edecek boyutlara ulaştığını da gözler önüne seriyor.
Raporun tamamına buradaki linkten erişebilirsiniz.
‘Rüyası Bölünenler’in Toplatma Kararına Yapılan İtiraz Reddedildi
6 Nisan 2023
Yazar Yavuz Ekinci’nin ‘Rüyası Bölünenler’ adlı romanı hakkında verilen toplatma kararına yapılan itiraz, İstanbul 8. Sulh Ceza Hâkimliği tarafından reddedildi.
Yavuz Ekinci’nin avukatı Can Ekinci, Twitter hesabından yaptığı açıklamada Anayasa Mahkemesi’ne gerekli başvuruları yapacaklarını belirtti.
Yavuz Ekinci’nin yaptığı açıklama şöyle:
“Müvekkilim yazar Yavuz Ekinci’nin Doğan Yayınları tarafından basılan Rüyası Bölünenler isimli kitabı hakkında İstanbul 7. Sulh Ceza Hâkimliği tarafından 14.03.2023 tarihinde toplatma kararı verilmiş olup tarafımızca karara karşı itiraz edilmiştir. İtirazı inceleyen İstanbul 8. Sulh Ceza Hâkimliği tarafından itirazımız reddedilmiştir. Ret kararına ilişkin tarafımızca Anayasa Mahkemesine gerekli başvurular yapılacaktır. Toplatma kararı ve itirazın reddi kararı gerekçesiz olup, bu durum hukuk devleti adına endişe vericidir.”
“Rüyası Bölünenler” için verilen toplatma kararı “PKK terör örgütünün propagandasının yapıldığı” gerekçesiyle 3713 sayılı Terörle Mücadele Kanunu’nun 7/2 ve 5187 sayılı Basın Kanunu’nun 25/2 maddesi uyarınca alınmıştı. Bu kararla “Rüyası Bölünenler”e basım, dağıtım ve satış yasağı da getirilmişti.
Yavuz Ekinci tarafından yazılan romanın ilk baskısı 2014 yılında Doğan Kitap tarafından yapılmıştı. Kitap Aralık 2022 tarihinde Everest Yayınları tarafından yeniden yayınlandı. Başsavcılık romanın Doğan Kitap’tan yapılan nüshasına dava açmıştı.
“Kızılcık Şerbeti” Mahkeme Kararıyla Bu Gece Yayınlanacak
7 Nisan 2023
Kızılcık Şerbeti dizisine Radyo Televizyon Üst Kurulu’nun (RTÜK) verdiği beş kez yayın durdurma cezası mahkeme kararıyla durduruldu. RTÜK cezası 7 Nisan itibariyle uygulanacaktı.
Televizyon tarihinde daha önce hiç uygulanmamış olan bu cezaya karşı Show TV avukatları pazartesi sabahı itiraz hakkını kullanmıştı. Gazeteci Birsen Altuntaş’ın haberine yüksek mahkeme itiraz talebini değerlendirdi ve yürütmeyi durdurma kararı verdi.
Kaynak: Birsen Altuntaş https://www.birsenaltuntas.com/dizi/kizilcik-serbeti-dizisi-bu-aksam-yayinlacak-mi-iste-son-gelisme/19433/
Avukat Kubilay Büber açıkladı: Mahir Akkoyun serbest!
7 Nisan 2023
Türkiye’de, marketlerdeki artan fiyatlara ve enflasyona dikkat çekmek için AKP’li Cumhurbaşkanı Recep Tayyip Erdoğan ve MHP Genel Başkanı Devlet Bahçeli’nin fotoğraflarının da olduğu çıkartmalar hazırlayan tasarımcı Mahir Akkoyun gözaltına alındı.
Mahir Akkoyun gözaltına alındığını sabah saatlerinde twitter adresinden duyurdu. Akkoyun’un savunulması için sosyal medyadan yapılan çağrıya İzmir Barosu avukatları yanıt verdi. Büro avukatlarından Kubilay Büber, Mahir Akkoyun’un saat 14.30 itibariyle savcılıktaki ifade işlemlerinin tamamlandığını ve adli kontrol yükümlülüğü ve yurtdışı yasağı ile serbest bırakılması istemiyle mahkemeye sevk edildiğini söyledi.
SÖZ Platformu’na açıklama yapan avukat Büber, saat 18.50 itibariyle Mahir Akkoyun’un serbest bırakıldığını ve “Adli kontrol talepleri reddedildiğini” söyledi. Büber’in verdiği bilgiye göre Akkoyun, savcılıktan Cumhurbaşkanı’na hakaret suçlamasıyla mahkemeye sevkedildi, ancak Seçim Kanunu’na muhalefetten ifade verdi.
Akdoğan’a yöneltilen suçlama Seçim Kanununun, “İlan ve reklam yerleri ile ilgili yasaklar”ı düzenleyen 61. Maddesi uyarınca yöneltildi. Bu madde seçimin başlangıç tarihinden oy verme gününü takip eden güne kadar propaganda yasağını düzenliyor.
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / June 6-12
Bans and Restrictions
Manga translation team Jiangzaitoon receives access ban
The website of Jiangzaitoon, a manga and webtoon translation team that produces content on manga culture and publishes comics in Turkish, was blocked.
According to Free Web Turkey, http://jiangzaitoon.io, the website of manga and webtoon translation team Jiangzaitoon, was blocked by the Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) on May 29. Jiangzaitoon’s previous domain name http://jiangzaitoon.biz was also blocked by BTK on May 17, leading to the opening of the alternative domain http://jiangzaitoon.io.
It is believed that the site was blocked because it mostly publishes manga translations featuring LGBTI+ content. The team shared the following statement on their social media accounts:
We would like to inform you about what happened to our website. We are currently in the process of migrating our site and we expect it to take approximately 3 more days, which turn out to be slightly shorter or longer. During this process, there will be no VPN or VPN-free access to our website jiangzaitoon.io. We thank you for your understanding and apologize for the inconvenience. We would also appreciate it if you share this announcement with your contacts.”
Another manga website producing Turkish content, #MangaGo, was also blocked by BTK on December 13, 2022.
Şişli District Governorate bans screening of #DirenAyol documentary
Şişli District Governorate banned the documentary #DirenAyol on the grounds that it would “provoke social outrage and disturb national conscience and public values.”
The screening of the documentary film “#DirenAyol” by the University Students’ Feminist Collective at a café in Osmanbey, Istanbul on June 6, 2023 at 18.00 was banned by the Şişli District Governorate. The screening was organized on the occasion of Pride Month.
University Students’ Feminist Collective had announced the screening on June 4, 2023.
The documentary film “#DirenAyol” directed by RüzgarBuşki looks at the Gezi resistance from the LGBT perspective. The film was first screened as part of the Rainbow category of the 15th !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival in 2016.
The District Governorate’s statement explained the reason behind the ban as follows:
“…in the event that the said event is carried out, it may arouse social outrage, threaten public peace by disturbing the national conscience and human values. Also, considering that there may be verbal and physical acts of provocation between the concerned group/persons and our citizens, it is considered that the maintenance of public order, the prevention of crime and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others may be endangered.”
The film screening was banned based on Article 17 of the Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations, which authorizes governors and district governors to ban demonstrations.
“Pride” screening banned, audience and BEKSAV members detained
Kadıköy District Governorate issued a ban on the screening of the film “Pride.” BEKSAV members and viewers who wanted the film to be shown were detained.
Science, Aesthetics, Culture and Arts Research Foundation (BEKSAV) Cinema Collective was to screen “Pride” at Bahar Bahça in Kadıköy, Istanbul today at 20.45 as part of Pride Month events. The movie screening was banned by the Kadıköy District Governorate.
BEKSAV Cinema Collective announced that they do not recognize the ban decision:
“Pride month is here and bans are knocking on our colorful doors! Kadıköy District Governorate has decided to ban the screening of the movie ‘Pride,’ which was announced to be held in the garden of BEKSAV this evening. Our attitude towards this will be nothing other than screening the movie. Because, what the hell is a ban?! Can a movie be banned?”
After this statement, the audience and BEKSAV members were detained by the police.
About the film
Directed by Matthew Warchus, “Pride” tells the story of the struggle fought together by two opposing social strata after gay activists decided to support the strike of the National Union of Mineworkers in 1984 in Britain under the rule of conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
Melek Mosso targeted after dedicating award to femicide victims
Social media accounts of pro-government media outlets targeted Melek Mosso and pressured the AKP-affiliated Süleymanpaşa Municipality to cancel her concert.
Singer Melek Mosso received the “Most Powerful Cover Song Award” for her track “Yıllar Affetmez” at the PowerTürk Music Awards Ceremony held at the Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) on June 5, 2023.
Mosso stated that she dedicated her award to the souls of all the murdered women and received a long applause from the hall.
Melek Mosso spoke as follows:
“I am receiving this award as a tribute to the souls of all the women who have been marginalized in this society and in the world alike for centuries, who have been judged, bullied and murdered for their clothes and laughter, for everything that being a woman entails.
“We will never be silenced. I am a woman who has always been proud of female singers being the women they are in this society. I will always stand behind them, no one can silence me. I will keep speaking, producing and singing.”
Mosso shared on her Instagram account after the ceremony, “I thank everyone who supported me. Even though I am too excited to express myself properly, people will know what I mean. I am receiving this award for all my murdered sisters, especially Bergen. May we all have a future where murderers do not get reduced sentences for good behavior, where no woman lives in fear of death and no woman is marginalized.”
The singer’s speech became a hot topic on social media. In addition to those in support, there were also those who targeted her using threatening remarks.
Sabah newspaper makes reference to Merve Dizdar
Sabah newspaper, one of the pro-government media outlets, published an article titled “Singer Melek Mosso’s preposterous slander against Turkish society! What a hypocrite!”
The news article claimed that Melek Mosso “could not swallow the defeat in the elections” and reminded of Merve Dizdar, who was targeted because of her speech in Cannes:
“Yesterday, Melek Mosso joined the manipulation efforts led by Merve Dizdar, who publicly complained at the Cannes award ceremony about Turkey to the Western society, claiming that she lives in a society where women are despised.”
TRHaber.com implies crime
TRHaber.com shared the speech with the comment “Melek Mosso attacks Turkish society again.” With this statement, the implication was made that Mosso committed the “Crime of Denigrating the Turkish Nation, the State of the Republic of Turkey, the Institutions and Organs of the State” regulated by Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
Targeted Melek Mosso cancels concert
Melek Mosso stated that she did not target anyone in her speech at the PowerTürk Music Awards Ceremony. She apologized for the post she shared during the election period and canceled her concert in order not to escalate the tension.
Melek Mosso made a statement on her social media accounts and announced that she canceled her concert at the 57th Cherry Festival.
In her statement, Melek Mosso first apologized for her post:
“I am very sorry. It is heartbreaking to see the people of this compassionate society confronting each other because of a joke I made by saying ‘election outfit’ that went beyond its purpose. Everyone who knows me knows that I don’t mean to upset anyone or to trigger discrimination; and for those who don’t know me, let me put it frankly: I am not like that and I am sorry for what happened, because I only want to sing, without thinking about what political view is holding the event or what the political opinion of the audience is. And I want to keep going like that.”
“Did not hold any person, institution or administration responsible”
In her statement, Mosso stated that she did not target anyone in her speech at the PowerTürk Music Awards Ceremony:
“Let’s talk about my acceptance speech at the award ceremony. That was one of the most sincere speeches I have ever made in my career… Those were the words of a girl whose cousin was stabbed 32 times and murdered by her husband, a girl who witnessed all that and went through that pain to the bone. My aim was not to hold any person, institution or administration responsible, but to wish that such pain would never happen again. This kind of pain is above politics. As someone who has experienced it, I would never want my speech to be politicized.”
Mosso finished her words by saying, “I hereby apologize to everyone whom I might have hurt.”
Melek Mosso apologizes: “I want to make amends”
Singer Melek Mosso, who was targeted due to a speech she made and her post on social media, apologized during her concert and said, “I want to make amends.”
Singer Melek Mosso, who dedicated her award to “all the women who have been judged, bullied and murdered” in her acceptance speech, apologized on stage yesterday. Mosso, who took the stage at the 57th International Tekirdağ Cherry Festival organized by Süleymanpaşa Municipality, made a short speech after singing her first song and said the following: “I would like to touch upon one issue real quick and make amends with you. I am very aware that I have been unduly occupying the nation’s agenda for the last week and I am very, very sorry for this. First of all, I would like you to know that no matter what anyone says, we are not a nation whose members hate each other or enemies with each other. No matter what anyone does, we will never be such a nation. We will continue to love each other greatly. I wanted to say something as a girl who lost her cousin to a murder of a woman. I wanted to raise my voice against femicides and harassment of women. I understand that it was misinterpreted, but I would like to point out that I also believe that this kind of pain is way above politics.”
“I believe President Erdoğan will implement the harshest regulations”
“I truly believe, as a woman, that our President, Mr. Erdoğan, will implement the harshest regulations regarding this from now on. I would like to thank Mr. President for bringing us together in such an inclusive and unifying festival at such a time without causing any unrest, and for sincerely accepting my apology without reflecting it on us, even if he was in pain.”
“If there is even a single person here who was hurt, upset or heartbroken because of my joke that went beyond its intended purpose, I apologize to them. We will not be divided or confronted with such things. As the Turkish nation, we will continue to be a perfect nation that loves each other, trusts each other’s good intentions, and lives in harmony and peace. That is why I love you all very much and thank you for being here. I would also like to thank our president for maintaining this beautiful festival in a magnificent way, never overshadowed by anything.”
Follow-up on lawsuits
Sibel Tekin’s ban on leaving country lifted in lawsuit filed for showing police vehicle
Documentary director Sibel Tekin was charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” after a police vehicle entered her frame while she was shooting a documentary. The ban on her leaving the country has been lifted.
The second hearing of the lawsuit filed against documentary director Sibel Tekin due to “membership in a terrorist organization” because a police vehicle entered the frame while she was filming people going to work in the morning for her documentary “Karanlıkta Başlayan Hayat” (Life That Starts in Darkness) was held at Ankara 26th High Criminal Court. Tekin’s hearing was followed by rights defender organizations such as IHD Ankara Branch, MLSA, October 10 Peace Association and journalists.
During the hearing, Tekin demanded her acquittal and the lifting of the judicial control and the ban on leaving the country, because she was offered a jury membership at the 3rd Rhodope Film Festival in Bulgaria.
The judge shared the expert report with the court. Tekin’s lawyer Mehtap Sakinci shared the contents of the expert report completed yesterday and said that there were no criminal elements against her client.
Sakinci emphasized that the process should not be prolonged because Tekin was suspended from her job as an academic. The judge requested a document showing Tekin’s participation as a jury member in a film festival in Bulgaria. Presenting the document to the court, lawyer Sakinci said, “Perhaps for the first time in her career, my client has had such an opportunity,” and reiterated that Tekin’s ban on leaving the country should be lifted and that a verdict of acquittal should be issued.
The judge decided to lift the judicial control and the travel ban and to resolve the missing elements, and adjourned the next hearing until October 3, 2023 at 10.45 am.
Reaction to bans
Sabahat Akkiraz thanks Leman Magazine
On its cover, Leman magazine featured Volkan Konak and Onur Akın’s failure to obtain visas from Germany and the concert bans imposed by local authorities.
Folk music singer Sabahat Akkiraz thanked the comic magazine LeMan, which featured on its cover the problem of musicians not being able to perform their concerts abroad because they cannot get visas, and at home due to bans.
Akkiraz made the following statement on her social media account:
“Certain people are waiting for musicians to keep silent and die away. You cannot silence musicians and artists with bans, restrictions on the pretext of the pandemic, oppression, censorship, or exile. You may starve them, but you cannot silence them. I have been living what is on the cover of @lemandergisi for years. Long live Leman.”
The cover of the Leman magazine published on June 7, 2023 featured the headline “Turkey’s Century of Culture…” The cartoon on the cover is created by Sefer&ÇağÇağ.
Artists not being able to obtain visas became an issue after the 2023 elections. Most recently, Volkan Konak announced on May 28 that he had received two visa rejections from Germany and therefore had to cancel his May concert in Germany.
Then on May 30, Onur Akın announced that the German consulate had rejected his visa request and that he had been denied a visa for the first time in his 35 years as an artist.
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / May 30 – June 5
Human Rights Association: “We stand together with Merve Dizdar”
Human Rights Association (IHD) criticized the insulting posts against Merve Dizdar, who won the Best Actress award in Cannes.
Merve Dizdar received the Best Actress award at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film “Kuru Otlar Üstüne.” Because of her acceptance speech, Merve Dizdar was subjected to insults by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its supporters.
Human Rights Association (IHD) Istanbul Branch made a written press statement in support of Merve Dizdar.
The statement reads as follows:
“We condemn the persecution campaign against actress Merve Dizdar for her short speech after she received the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, in which she addressed the problems faced by women in Turkey in relation to the subject of the film, and we publicly declare that we stand by Merve Dizdar and all women who are subjected to violence and gender discrimination.”
After Volkan Konak, Onur Akın receives visa rejection
Artist Onur Akın stated that he could not get a visa for the first time in his 35 years of working as an artist and said, “I am saddened and ashamed on behalf of my country!”
Recently, the number of visa refusals, especially for Schengen visas, for Turkish citizens have been on the rise.
Artist Onur Akın stated that the German consulate rejected his visa request despite the fact that he had previously received a long-term visa, saying, “I’d never think we’d be faced with this! During my 35 years of career as an artist, I’ve performed many times in numerous countries around the world, received long-term visas, especially from Schengen countries, and never had any problems, but this time, I received a ‘rejection’ from the German consulate for the first time… As we enter the second century of our Republic, I cannot wrap my head around the fact that the artists of this country are treated as asylum seekers or refugees at the gates of Europe. I am saddened and ashamed of this on behalf of my country!”
Recently, Volkan Konak canceled his concert in Germany, announcing that he had been denied a visa twice. (https://www.reportare.com/soz/almanya-vize-vermeyince-volkan-konak-konserini-iptal-etti/)
Upon release, Asya Alizade speaks about her time in detention: “They took me to Silivri”
Asya Alizade addressed the journalists who were preoccupied with the lyrics of her song and said that they should actually be reporting on the poor conditions in the deportation center.
Azeri singer Asya Alizade, who was detained for using the phrase “like cannabis” in a music video and sent to a deportation center, has been released.
In a statement on her Instagram account, Alizade said that she was taken to the deportation center in Silivri despite the prosecutor’s decision that there was no criminal element in her song. The famous rapper made the following remarks:
“The police took me into custody at my home. Investigation procedures were initiated. I made a statement at the prosecutor’s office and the prosecutor realized that I was innocent and released me. Then I spent two days at the police station and they took me to Silivri. They kept me there for three days without any charges. Man, women are kept there with their children (ranging from 1 month to 16 years of age) under appalling conditions and no one knows anything about them.”
Alizade addressed the journalists who were preoccupied with the lyrics of her songs, saying that what they should really be reporting on were the conditions in the deportation center. She added that she loves Turkey and will not go anywhere.
Gülşen sentenced to pay TL 50K to each three imam hatip graduate
The Human Rights and Equality Institution of Turkey (TİHEK) ruled to impose an administrative fine of 150 thousand Turkish Liras on singer Gülşen Çolakoğlu on the grounds that her statements against imam hatip high school graduates qualified as “discrimination.”
According to AA news, three graduates of imam hatip high schools applied to TİHEK on the grounds that singer Gülşen “violated the prohibition on discrimination” based on her statements against imam hatip high school graduates.
Asked for his opinion on the applications, Çolakoğlu’s lawyer stated that his client did not intend to make hurtful remarks towards any segment of the public, that her comments were misunderstood and that she has already apologized for them.
It was stated that Gülşen Çolakoğlu asked her bandmates to carry her on their shoulders among the audience at the concert, and when one of her bandmates replied “Imam should carry you,” referring to a band member whose nickname was “imam,” Gülşen Çolakoğlu used the remarks in question in the context of “joking” as a momentary response.
The statement argued that the applicants were not the addressees of this joke and requested the rejection of the applications.
After examining the application, TİHEK ruled that “the prohibition on discrimination was violated” and ordered Çolakoğlu to pay an administrative fine of 50 thousand liras each to each applicant.
Prosecutor demands life for two of Onur Şener’s murder suspects
The lawsuit filed on the murder of musician Onur Şener due to an argument in an entertainment venue in Çankaya district of Ankara was held at Ankara 31st Assize Court. Arrested defendants İlker Karakaş, Ali Gündüz and Semih Soyalp, unarrested defendants Gözde Gündüz, Jale Erberk and the lawyers of the parties attended the hearing.
After the witness statements, the public prosecutor announced his opinion on the accusations. The prosecutor stated that the defendants went to the entertainment venue in Çayyolu Mutlukent Neighborhood on October 2, 2022. After Şener’s performance, they came back to the stage and sang karaoke and that was when an argument broke out.
The prosecutor stated that the defendants went outside and Karataş and Gündüz attacked Şener in the neck with broken glass and he died on the spot.
The prosecutor demanded life imprisonment for Karataş and Gündüz on the charge of “intentional murder” and the acquittal of the arrested defendant Soyalp and the unarrested defendants Gözde Gündüz and Jale Erberk.
The court ruled for the continuation of the detention for detained defendants and giving them time to prepare their defenses on the accusations and adjourned the trial until July 5.
The indictment demands aggravated life imprisonment for the defendants, who are stated to have acted together and committed the act with a broken glass without feeling pity, on the charge of “intentional murder with malice aforethought.”
Ataol Behramoğlu targeted and his talk canceled
Poet Ataol Behramoğlu announced on his social media account that his talks at the book fair organized by Bitlis Education and Promotion Association (BETAV) were canceled. Behramoğlu tagged Kırmızı Bülten Editor-in-Chief Mustafa Yüzer, who had targeted the event, and wrote, “You won, Mr. Mustafa. We got banned. Congratulations.”
Behramoğlu used the following remarks in his post:
“You won, Mr. Mustafa. We got banned. Congratulations. At least one of your grandchildren will read one of my poems to their lover, but if they are asked if they know the name of their grandfather’s grandfather, their answer will be ‘Are you kidding me?'”
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / May 22-31
Detentions and Lawsuits
MA Music coordinator Aslan Aydoğan detained
24 May 2023
As reported by Artı Gerçek online newspaper, 191 people were detained in house raids in 21 cities as part of the investigation launched by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on April 25 and more than 50 people, including journalists and lawyers, were arrested.
As part of the same investigation, MA Music Coordinator Aslan Aydoğan (Şêrko Kanîwar) was also detained at Diyarbakır Airport while returning from Germany. Detained on May 23, Aydoğan was released the following day.
Rapper Asya Alizade detained and deported
27 May 2023
An investigation was launched by the Istanbul Anatolian Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against Azeri singer Asya Alizade, who makes rap music in Turkey, for allegedly encouraging drug use in her music videos. Within the scope of the investigation, the teams of Istanbul Security Directorate of Narcotic Crimes examined Asya Alizade’s clips.
During the investigation, it was determined that Alizade used the phrase “like cannabis” in English in one of her videos. Following the investigation, the police, who had a warrant for her arrest, detained Alizade at her residence in Ataşehir. Alizade was referred to the courthouse after her procedures were completed at the police station, and she was released after her statement was taken.
Alizade was handed over to the repatriation center to be sent back to her country on the grounds that she was a foreigner who got involved in crime.
Artists Demand Democracy
Free Arts Council: “We demand unconditional democracy”
24 May 2023
The Free Arts Council, which was formed after a meeting of more than 500 artists in Kadıköy on April 17th, has spoken for the first time. Stating that the upcoming elections are very critical in terms of artistic freedom, the statement said, “We demand a democracy without conditions or ‘but’s.”
“We came together in the Free Arts Council setting out from the fact that the relations between politics and art, politicians and artists, and power and art have evolved to the detriment of art and artists. The Free Arts Council articulates the demands of artists with different political identities for the right to art and freedom of artistic expression. These are people who ‘side with’ freedom but not ‘supporters’ of any political party or view,” the statement read.
“Vote for artistic freedom”
Posters were shared on the collective’s social media account, inviting people to vote in the second round of the presidential elections. The posters read, “Vote for freedom of thought, for artistic freedom, for religion to stop judging art, for censorship not to be taken for granted, against those who see art as a freak show, and against bans on festivals and celebrations.”
Election rally from artists: “Cling to the ballot box”
24 May 2023
Artists posted videos on their social media accounts and launched a campaign called “Cling to the Ballot Box.” With the videos they shot, the artists called people to “cling to the ballot box for democracy, freedom and justice” in the second round of the presidential elections.
Haluk Bilginer, Yeşim Salkım, Ayşenil Şamlıoğlu, Nergis Öztürk, Banu Çiçek, Yiğit Poyraz, Bensu Orhunöz, Hasibe Eren, Mehmet Günsur, Vahide Perçin, Ece Uslu, Sinan Tuzcu and Senan Kara took part in the videos which were published on social media accounts named “sandigasaril” (cling to the ballot box).
Müfit Can Saçıntı’s show canceled due to social media posts
27 May 2023
Director, screenwriter and actor Müfit Can Saçıntı’s show was canceled “due to his social media posts” after he was invited by AKP-affiliated Tekirdağ Süleymanpaşa Municipality to perform.
Müfit Can Saçıntı, known for productions such as “Mandıra Filozofu,” “Seksenler,” “Yaşamak Güzel Şey” and “Babamın Ceketi,” announced on his Twitter account that Tekirdağ Süleymanpaşa Municipality canceled his show and the reason was explained to him as “Our mayor saw Mr. Müfit’s social media posts and thus canceled the show.”
Saçıntı, who referred to the incident as caused by “a district municipality in Thrace” but did not specify which one, made the following statement on his social media account:
“I was supposed to be on stage right now, at this very hour, at the event organized by a district municipality. It was canceled and now, I’m sitting at home. Why? What happened? I have been performing on stage for the last 6 years! I have not once begged to be invited by a single municipality so far! I had made my stance clear with my agent and event organizers in that they should not approach any municipality on my behalf, but that I’d go if I was ever invited because municipalities belong to the public, whether or not the mayor knows or chooses to ignore this…”
Denied visa from Germany, Volkan Konak cancels concert
28 May 2023
Musician Volkan Konak and his crew’s visa application for a concert in Germany was rejected. Volkan Konak announced on social media that they had to cancel the concert.
In a post on his Twitter account, Volkan Konak claimed that the reason for the rejection was the granting of citizenship to immigrants in Turkey
“Dear friends; we, who give concerts all over the world, can’t even get visas to European countries anymore because of the citizenship given to undocumented people in Turkey, and we have been rejected twice for visas from Germany, so we have canceled our May concert in Germany. We apologize to our fans. What can I say? Such a shame…”
Insults and Targeting
AKP representatives insult and target actress Merve Dizdar
28 May 2023
After actress Merve Dizdar won the Best Actress Award in Cannes, many AKP officials shared insulting posts that targeted her.
Actress Merve Dizdar became the first Turkish actress to win the Best Actress award at the 2023 Cannes Film Festival Awards for her performance in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Kuru Otlar Üstünde.” In her acceptance speech, Dizdar said, “The character Nuray, whom I portrayed in the film, is a woman who fights for what she believes in and for her existence, and has been forced to pay a price for this. I would have liked to work long and hard just to know and understand her better, but unfortunately, being a woman in the geography I live in entails knowing her and what she feels by heart since the day I was born. In order to strengthen the struggle of Nuray and women like her, I dedicate this award to all my sisters who do not submit to what they are deemed worthy of, who take action, who risk everything for this cause and who do not give up hope no matter what, and to all the struggling souls in Turkey who are waiting for the good days they deserve.”
While Dizdar’s speech drew immense attention on social media, Emre Cemil Ayvalı, AKP’s Vice President for Publicity and Media, shared Dizdar’s speech and wrote: “Yet another one of the pathetic slaves of the West. She won that award not with her acting skills, but with the loyalty she offered on her knees and through insulting her country in their own language… She is so lame that she reads the paper handed to her trembling, and so insecure that she throws out her own country under the bus in the eyes of her enslavers… The difference between her and the PKK members who are hosted in palaces in France is nothing but her industry. This is all that Merve Dizdar is.”
Dizdar’s speech was targeted by many pro-AKP accounts and shared with insulting remarks. Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) Deputy Chairman İbrahim Uslu also targeted Dizdar with the following comments:
“First, you must learn to respect your own country, Merve Dizdar. Then you can expect appreciation from all citizens of this country for the award you received. There is nothing to congratulate in those who do not respect their country.”
Serdar Çam, Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism, shared a post associating Dizdar’s speech with terrorism, saying, “Their attitude is similar to the hostile attacks and accusations carried out by the Armenian, PKK, FETÖ or DHKP-C lobbies, pretending to protect the rights of the women of their own country.” The full post is as follows:
“You have no idea what you are reading or what is meant by that. You are nothing but a loser, like those brought there from a colonial country, polished and sent back to their country. But you are incapable of even reading out your mother tongue, let alone speaking good French like them. You have not had enough of this loser Westernization mentality for 200 years. As long as you insult your own homeland, you will keep struggling for nothing to be cherished. This is how the colonial order works – to suck the life force of millions, it creates an intermediate elite layer and opens channels of intervention through them. Of course, these methods are outdated. The cake you don’t deserve at all will be shared among the growing youth. Many young talents will surpass these people by light years. It is mostly because of this that these pathetic people are raging. The truth will come out sooner or later. It will take time – it will require at least 30-40 years of career work. Just last week, a mentality was suspected of not responding to magazines that insulted the President of Turkey. A political stance that cannot even react to an artist who insults his own country cannot be ethical. The attitude of making peace can never be trusted either. Their attitude is similar to the hostile attacks and accusations carried out by the Armenian, PKK, FETÖ or DHKP-C lobbies, pretending to protect the rights of the women of their own country. Sooner or later, our people will put those who insult them in their place.”
Eyüp Gökhan Özekin, AKP’s Vice President for City and Culture, also posted a post targeting Dizdar, saying:
“They made money from this country. They became famous in this country. They had fun, ate and drank in this country. But they could not love it. Merve Dizdar spewed her hatred as soon as she found the opportunity to disparage her country to the Europeans whom she considered superior to her nation. Without caring that she even had this opportunity thanks to this country… There are many of them. There are also many losers who continue to carry them however much they become a burden on their backs. Shame on everyone who surrenders to them. Shame on everyone who doesn’t put a stop to them.”
Cansın Yılmaz, Head of Environment, Urbanization and Culture at the AKP Ankara Provincial Youth Branch, shared Dizdar’s speech, saying, “Your political hegemony is over, and your cultural hegemony will also end.”
İmge Sahaf: last day of a second-hand bookseller in Kadıköy
25 May 2023
Increasing costs are causing the culture and arts sector to shrink. İmge Sahaf, one of Kadıköy’s well-known bookstores, could not withstand the tough market conditions and announced its closure.
İmge Sahaf, one of the most well-known and biggest booksellers in Kadıköy, closed down today. İmge Sahaf was one of the few remaining second-hand booksellers in Kadıköy, where dozens of booksellers were once located. It was the last bookstore on Güneşlibahçe Street, which is now filled with cafés and restaurants. Book lovers were wondering how İmge Sahaf resisted in recent years with a lonely book and magazine stand at the door, among all the venues that were blocking the street with tables on both sides. Finally, İmge Sahaf also gave up.
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / May 8-21
Bans, Cancelled Events and Prohibited Demonstrations
Ban on Selçuk Balcı and Korhan Özyıldız live performances
8 May 2023
Korhan Özyıldız, the lead singer of Marsis band, announced that the free public concert with the theme “Youth Welcomes Spring” to be held in Rize on May 9th, where musician Selçuk Balcı would also take the stage, has been canceled.
Korhan Özyıldız announced this on his social media account, posting, “Another concert in our hometown, Rize, was prevented from taking place. Well, are we going to accept this? Of course not! They will not be able to prevent the coming of spring!”
In another post, Özyıldız said, “The youth concert to be held in Rize was not permitted. The concert will be hosted by Fındıklı Municipality. Spring will come, and no more bans!”
METU Spring Fest cancelled on the pretext of Maraş earthquake
10 May 2023
METU Spring Fest, which was to be held for the 35th time this year, was canceled by the university administration. Students protested the decision.
METU’s trustee rector Verşan Kök canceled the International Spring Fest, which is organized by students every year. According to the statement of METU International Youth Community, which organizes the festival, the community wanted to meet with the rector and the school’s Health, Culture and Sports Department to discuss preparations and plans for the festival. In return, the administration stated that the festival would not take place. The reason provided was the Kahramanmaraş-based earthquakes that occurred on February 6. It must be pointed out that there is no official decision yet.
The community stated that they are aware of the suffering caused by the earthquake, and therefore were planning to invite tradesmen and institutions from the earthquake region to collect donations. The plan is to organize this festival in solidarity with the earthquake region.
Students have been protesting for about 10 days due to the cancellation of the festival.
During the protests, students carried banners and chanted slogans such as “The festival belongs to METU, METU is ours”, “Verşan Kök cannot be the rector of METU”, “Don’t buckle, protect the festival” and “Verşan’s departure will be celebrated with a festival”.
Izmir Atatürk High School’s traditional dance show cancelled
19 May 2023
Necati Kalafat, Head of the Veli-Der (Parents’ Association) Izmir Branch, made a statement against the cancellation of the waltz and modern dance show organized every year on October 29 and May 19 at Izmir Atatürk High School.
Izmir Atatürk High School, one of the most well-established schools in Izmir, has canceled the waltz show performed by students every year on October 29 and May 19.
Veli-Der claimed that the administration of İzmir Atatürk High School canceled the show at the last minute due to the reaction of the İzmir Provincial Directorate of National Education and several religious groups. The dance performance was removed from the ceremony as per the decision of the school administration.
Making a statement on the issue, Necati Kalafat, President of the Izmir Branch of Veli-Der, said, “Izmir Veli-Der is officially asking: What is it exactly, the concept defined as the ‘reaction of religious groups?’ What could young people dancing possibly disturb? You cannot impose your dark mindset on us by being preoccupied with how young people, who are as little as your own kids, dress. The most successful students of Izmir Atatürk High School, which has been a bastion of the republic and enlightenment for decades, have things to say in the face of this. As the parents of these children, we will continue to dance and produce science together with them – boys and girls alike. We announce to the public that the Izmir Provincial Directorate of National Education should immediately take the necessary actions and penalize those responsible, or otherwise will be a partner to this dark mentality.”
Ahmet Aslan: “Muharrem İnce used my work without consent”
13 May 2023
Musician Ahmet Aslan announced that Muharrem İnce used his song during his presidential election campaign without obtaining his consent.
Musician Ahmet Aslan announced that his folk song “Minnet Eylemem” was used by Muharrem İnce without his permission. Muharrem İnce was one of the four presidential candidates in the 2023 elections, but decided to withdraw on May 11, 2023.
In his post, Aslan tagged the social media accounts of the Turkish Music Work Owners’ Professional Union (MESAM), Kalan Music and Muharrem İnce.
Sibel Can files lawsuit for unlawful usage of 12 works on digital
18 May 2023
Sibel Can filed a lawsuit against Raks Music Company for the unauthorized and unlawful use of her 12 works on digital media.
Singer Sibel Can filed a lawsuit against Raks Music Company for alleged unauthorized and unlawful use of 12 works from her album “Türk Sanat Müziği” on digital media. The famous artist, claiming that she suffered material and emotional damage, demanded that the unauthorized use be stopped and infringement be prevented.
Burhan Şeşen: “Accommodation facilities will pay royalties for music they play”
18 May 2023
Burhan Şeşen, president of MÜYORBİR (Professional Association of Music Performers), announced that 20 thousand tourism facilities will be licensed by the end of 2023.
Artists were having problems due to not receiving royalties for their music played in accommodation facilities and, according to MÜYORBİR, this problem has been solved.
In a written statement, MÜYORBİR claimed, “We have solved the licensing problem in accommodation facilities once and for all, which has been a hot topic for years.”
The statement said that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued a memo on the issue on May 15, 2023 and made it compulsory for accommodation facilities playing music to submit their standing within the scope of the Law No. 5846 on Intellectual and Artistic Works.
Speaking to the PMAF Platform, Burhan Şeşen said, “”Hotels, motels, hostels and other touristic accommodation facilities are now obliged to obtain a music license. Just as they have to obtain a certificate of conformity for the pool, they will also obtain a license for their public music broadcasts and pay royalties for the music they play.”
With the new memo, accommodation facilities found to be operating without a valid music license will be prosecuted in accordance with the Tourism Encouragement Law No. 2634. In addition, a series of severe sanctions, from financial penalties to the shutting down of the facility, will be imposed in case of non-compliance.
Burhan Şeşen added that their goal is to license 20 thousand tourism facilities by the end of 2023.
Second round of elections: Statements from professional associations
PEN: “Elections continue: A matter of choosing darkness or illumination!”
18 May 2023
PEN Writers’ Association made a written statement on May 14 on the second round of the presidential elections. Calling on voters to go and vote, the statement read: “We must protect both our votes and our ballot boxes on May 28th in the second round of the presidential elections! This is a question of choosing darkness or illumination, going backwards or forwards, preferring monarchy or modernity, choosing the past or the future!”
The full statement can be found in the link below:
Writers’ Union of Turkey: “We must vote to bring an order of law and justice”
19 May 2023
“In the 100th anniversary of the Turkish Republic, we must protect our future in the spirit of the May 19th Anatolian Resistance, leaning on our faith and hope for better days,” the Writers’ Union of Turkey declared in its call for the May 28th Presidential Election.
The Writers’ Union of Turkey (TYS) issued a statement for the second round of the 2023 Presidential Election.
Founded in 1974 upon the efforts of Aziz Nesin, TYS invited voters to go and vote to help retain free democratic order.
The statement can be summarized as follows:
“It is a fact that where there is no freedom of thought and expression, one cannot talk about human rights and liberties. A democratic, secular and social state of law based on human rights, a country where freedom of speech and writing are empowered is what we all long for. We support the struggle towards a country where the basic demands of the working class, who produce and create, are met, where injustice has come to an end, and where everyone benefits equally from the value created.
“On May 28th, in the second round of the Presidential Election, we have to go and vote to say yes to the order of law and justice, in which freedom and democracy will prevail by defying oppression, poverty and discrimination. In the 100th anniversary of our Republic, let us protect our future with the spirit of the May 19th Anatolian Resistance, with our faith and hope for good days to come.”
Female artists calling out: “We’re here and we’re not surrendering to darkness!”
SPOT: The call for elections prepared by the Leftist Feminist Movement was signed by many female intellectuals, academics, musicians, actors, lawyers and artists. “Either we will attain the light or we will be left breathless,” the women said.
Hundreds of women, including many artists, emphasized the importance of this election as they called on women to vote, with a declaration prepared by the Leftist Feminist Movement that read, “We will either be left breathless, or we will break the darkness together and reach the light of dawn.”
In the declaration titled “We are here, we will not surrender to darkness,” the women said, “We have the right to an equal, free and secular country where we can live without fear – let’s build it together. Come on! We call on all women to vote and protect their votes to put an end to the authoritarian one-man regime.”
Lawsuits and detentions
Sexual perpetrator Musa Orhan files another lawsuit against Farah Zeynep Abdullah
20 May 2023
Musa Orhan, the perpetrator of sexual assault who sued Ezgi Mola, Hazal Kaya, Melek Mosso and Farah Zeynep Abdullah and demanded compensation, filed a second defamation lawsuit against Farah Zeynep Abdullah.
Musa Orhan, who was the subject of the letter calling him out for sexual assault written by İpek Er, who committed suicide in Batman, filed another defamation lawsuit against Farah Zeynep Abdullah.
Farah Zeynep Abdullah was sentenced to a judicial fine in the previous defamation lawsuit filed by Musa Orhan.
Actress Farah Zeynep Abdullah posted on social media that Musa Orhan filed another lawsuit against her, saying, “Musa Orhan, a dishonorable man apparently using, or rather feeling absolutely free to use, the justice system as a method of livelihood, has now filed a lawsuit against me for compensation. That prick!”
Boğaziçi students released after being detained for displaying pictures to insult the President
Three Boğaziçi University students detained on May 19 were released on May 20 in the evening hours. Boğaziçi Resistance declared that their friends were ill-treated and tortured during the detention.
Three Boğaziçi University students were detained on May 19, 2023 for displaying visual materials prepared using President and AKP Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s photos. The students were released in the evening of May 20. The students were not subjected to a travel ban or judicial control conditions.
The students were criticizing the government’s incompetence after the February 6 Kahramanmaraş earthquake and the appointment of a trustee rector for Boğaziçi University.
Three students were detained for allegedly insulting the president in one of their visual works.
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / May 1-7
Aleyna Tilki addresses those who target her: “You are the devil”
1 May 2023
Singer Aleyna Tilki reacted to a post by an account named Prof. Çoban Turan, who targeted her on social media: “Because of people like you, I now believe that the world is nothing but a simulation and I feel very disconnected from the world. It is the likes of you who are the devil…”
Singer Aleyna Tilki received the best female pop singer award at the Pantene Golden Butterfly Award Ceremony on December 10, 2018. Tilki appeared in a devil-themed costume to receive the award and said, “No matter how sad and offended I felt, I always wore pink on the screen. You all got to know me when I was 14. When I wanted to be a child, when I wanted to wear pink, I created the character Aleyna Tilki for myself and I loved it.”
This speech and Aleyna Tilki’s costume have been a hot topic on social media for a while. An account named Prof. Çoban Turan shared Tilki’s speech and said, “People become famous very easily on television, if they worship the devil.” In response, Tilki said, “Because I couldn’t handle the countless abuses I experienced and what I felt about my career, I was only able to survive by creating other personas. Because of people like you, I now believe that the world is nothing but a simulation and I feel very disconnected from the world. It is the likes of you who are the devil…” and reacted both to the difficulties she experienced in the industry and to those who targeted her for her costume.
Street musician killed for refusing to play song request
3 May 2023
Cihan Aymaz, a street musician in Kadıköy, Istanbul, was killed on the pretext that he did not play the song that was requested. According to DHA news agency, Aymaz, who was working as a street musician in Kadıköy Rıhtım around 19:00 on Tuesday, May 2, was first verbally harassed by a person named Mehmet Caymaz. Mehmet Caymaz asked Cihan Aymaz to play a folk song on his speaker system. When Aymaz refused, an argument broke out between the two. Mehmet Caymaz allegedly stabbed musician Cihan Aymaz in the chest. Injured, Aymaz fell into the sea and then the suspect jumped into the sea.
Cihan Aymaz was pulled out of the sea by the nearby citizens and given first aid. He then was taken to Haydarpaşa Numune Hospital by the paramedics, where he died. The suspect Mehmet Caymaz was taken out of the sea by the Coast Guard, handcuffed and detained.
Last October, musician Onur Şener was murdered in Ankara by people who attacked him on the pretext that he did not sing the song they requested. The incident raised debates about musicians’ safety issues, working conditions and the society’s attitude towards musicians.
Labor and Freedom Alliance: “We will build a life where folk songs are sung freely”
3 May 2023
In the press statement organized on the killing of Kurdish musician Cihan Aymaz in Kadıköy Rıhtım, it was stated that artists are criminalized and targeted.
The Labor and Freedom Alliance made a statement about the murder of street musician Cihan Aymaz in Kadıköy yesterday. At the press statement held at the Kadıköy pier square, participants gathered behind a banner that read “We will build a life where folk songs are sung freely in the face of racist attacks against one’s mother tongue.”
Parties from the alliance, numerous people and Aymaz’s family participated in the statement. Özlem Özdemir read the statement on behalf of the Labor and Freedom Alliance.
In the statement, it was pointed out that Cihan Yılmaz had been a street performer in Kadıköy for years and had been singing Kurdish songs: “When he refused to sing this song [Ölürüm Türkiye’m], which has become a symbol of the monist perspective and fascism, an argument broke out and the murderer took out the knife he had ready in his pocket and stabbed Cihan in the heart, causing him to die.”
The statement also emphasized that oppositional artists are criminalized and targeted by the government:
“The government, which is striving to monopolize art and artists, not only prevents musicians from performing, but also criminalizes and targets artists who try to perform on the streets. Art will continue to exist everywhere. We will expand the struggle until tunes from all languages and cultures are played and sung freely in public.”
After the press statement, a mass march was organized towards the area where Aymaz was killed. The group chanted “Long live the brotherhood of peoples” in Turkish and Kurdish. After a five-minute sit-in at the site, street artists sang songs for Aymaz.
Lyrics adapted as “Tayyip has made the poor even want for onions”
In a street interview for Vatandaş TV on January 30, Cihan Aymaz had said that an investigation was filed against him because of a song he sang that was adapted from Mahzuni Şerif’s song, and that he had gone to court and made a statement.
Aymaz had changed the lyrics of the folk song to “Tayyip has made the poor even want for onions.” In the street interview, he had said, “Even if I end up in prison, I will continue to sing that way. I am beyond salvation.”
HDP Istanbul Provincial Co-Chair Ferhat Encü shared this interview on Twitter.
İHD: “He was killed for not playing ‘Ölürüm Türkiye’m'”
The Human Rights Association’s (İHD) Commission Against Racism and Discrimination released a statement on its Twitter account, claiming that the murder of Cihan Aymaz was of a racist nature. The statement read as follows:
“Kurdish street musician and HDP volunteer Cihan Aymaz was stabbed in the heart by racist perpetrator Mehmet Caymaz for not singing ‘Ölürüm Türkiye’m.’ This is a racist murder! We demand that the perpetrator be punished to the maximum limit.”
Ferhat Encü has also claimed that Aymaz was killed because he did not sing the song “Ölürüm Türkiye’m.” Encü stated that Aymaz was a HDP volunteer and that they are going to follow up on the incident.
Photo credit: Mazlum Bucuka
Denied release by digital platforms, “Zer” will be published on YouTube
3 May 2023
Director Kazım Öz announced that his feature film “Zer” will be released on YouTube. Making an announcement on his social media accounts yesterday, Öz said, “The movie ‘Zer,’ which I directed, is on YOUTUBE! When digital platforms could not risk releasing the movie, I decided to release the movie on YOUTUBE. You can also watch the scenes that are banned in Turkey. The movie will be shown with subtitles in 15 languages.”
The film, which will be released on Friday, May 5 at 21:00 on director Kazım Öz’s YouTube channel, is based on the journey and search of musician Jan, who travels from New York to Dersim in pursuit of a song. Featuring actors such as Nik Xhelilaj, Güler Ökten, Levent Özdilek and Füsun Demirel, “Zer” tells the story of young musician Jan, who becomes closer to his grandmother Zarife, who was brought to New York for cancer treatment, and the story of his journey towards his own roots in search of a song his grandmother sang to him.
“Zer” won the Audience Award at the Burgas International Film Festival and also at the 66th Mannheim-Heidelberg International Film Festival. Director Kazım Öz had previously announced that he had sent six of his films to the Golden Boll Film Festival, all of which were rejected without any justification.
Director Öz announced that after the screening of “Zer” on YouTube on Friday evening, a Q&A will be held on his channel.
Ay Yapım issues statement for light bulb scene in “Aile” series: “No hidden meaning”
4 May 2023
The “turning off the light bulb” scene in the 9th episode of the “Aile” series on Show TV, which aired on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, became a hot topic on social media.
In the scene in question in the series starring Serenay Sarıkaya and Kıvanç Tatlıtuğ, the character Leyla Soykan looked at her son after putting out the light bulb and said “I will not let anyone steal your life away.”
People on social media commented that this scene conveyed an implicit message using the emblem of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Upon this, Ay Yapım production company released a statement about the scene in question.
“We have seen that different meanings were attributed to a scene in the episode of our series named ‘Aile’ that aired yesterday on social media. This scene has no other purpose or meaning except that it maintains the flow of the script and character story. As the viewers will recognize, this scene is in harmony with the previous and subsequent plot lines and is a scene that is completely related to the theme of the series itself.”
Gülşen sentenced to imprisonment in “Imam Hatip” case
3 May 2023
The court announced its verdict in the lawsuit filed against singer Gülşen for her remarks against Imam Hatip high school students. The court sentenced the artist to 10 months in prison and deferred the announcement of the verdict.
Gülşen Çolakoğlu, who was put on trial for making a joke about Imam Hatip high school graduates during a concert she gave in Ataşehir, Istanbul last year, was charged with “inciting the public to hatred and hostility” and demanded to be imprisoned from 1 year to 3 years. The court announced its verdict in the trial held today. The court sentenced the artist to 10 months in prison. The committee deferred the announcement of the verdict.
Gülşen’s attorneys released a statement: “Unfair and unlawful”
4 May 2023
Singer Gülşen’s attorneys made a statement after the court sentenced the artist to 10 months in prison in a lawsuit filed due to her remarks about Imam Hatip high school students, stating that this decision is against the law.
The artist’s lawyers issued a written statement on the grounds that the whole situation was communicated as Gülşen being “punished,” which created a negative perception about the artist. In the statement shared on Gülşen’s social media account, it was stated that the artist, whose testimony was taken within the scope of Article 216/1 of the Turkish Penal Code, should have been acquitted on the grounds that she did not commit the crime of “public incitement to hatred and hostility” mentioned in the article; however, the artist was “sentenced for a completely different crime – TCK 216/2: ‘publicly humiliating a specific segment of the society based on differences in social class, religion, sect, gender, region’ – for which she was not even given the right to an additional defense.”
It was emphasized that Gülşen was not notified before the change in the nature of the crime, nor was she allowed to make her defense, and therefore, as stated in the law, she “cannot be convicted by any other provision of law than the one which the crime whose legal elements are shown in the indictment refers to.” Lawyers Altın Mimir and Emek Emre, who stated that the court was clearly in error and that the verdict was unlawful, said in a statement that they would file legal appeals and that they believed that this grave error would be corrected and that the artist would be acquitted, as this was a legal imperative.
MHP MP candidate appropriates deceased namesake’s book
4 May 2023
It was revealed that MHP Adıyaman MP candidate İsmail Gümüş has reprinted and appropriated the story book “Hançer,” the latest work of writer, painter and sculptor İsmail Gümüş of the same name as him, who is the author of story books such as “Boşnak Türküsü” and “Deli Balkan Yeli.”
According to BirGün newspaper’s Mustafa Bildircin, Kırklareli-born writer İsmail Gümüş’s novel “Hançer” was put on sale by Profil Publishing in April 2015. Author Gümüş died on November 5, 2015, shortly after the book was published.
İsmail Gümüş, an MP candidate from MHP, shared a post on his social media account on April 21, 2022 and wrote, “We have sent my novel ‘Hançer’ and my second novel ‘Alamut’un Hançeri’ to reprint after they were sold out. Very soon, I hope it will be sold in all distinguished bookstores again.”
Gümüş, who has organized book signing events for the reprinted book, posted a photo of himself presenting the book to MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli. It is seen that the book in the photo is the book published by Profil Publishing that belongs to the writer İsmail Gümüş, who died in 2015.
Publishing house made a statement
The publishing house, which published the first edition of the novel “Hançer” by writer İsmail Gümüş, announced that the contract for the book was signed on March 1, 2015 and that it expired on March 1, 2020.
Stating that only one edition of the book was printed and the stocks were sold out, the publishing house announced on social media, “We have received information that a person in Adıyaman province held a book signing for this book. We have nothing to do with that book or the person who held the signing event.”
MP candidate Gümüş: “I own the copyright”
MHP member Gümüş stated that he did not claim someone else’s book as his own and said, “I own the copyright to this book.”
Claiming that he had correspondence with the publishing house, which stated that they had nothing to do with him, Gümüş refused to answer the question, “Why would anyone want to slander you like this?”
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / April 23-30
Kerem Fırtına: Autonomy is a must for freedom of art
24 April 2023
In an interview with Mezopotamya News Agency, Istanbul 3rd District MP candidate of the Greens and Left Future Party (Green Left Party) and actor Kerem Fırtına explained his projects on how art can be liberated. Fırtına said, “Producing free art in a state-affiliated art structure is against the nature of art itself. Art is rebellion, criticism, fantasy and utopia – in whatever form it takes.”
The actor, who has announced his MP candidacy on social media with post “I am a HDP member,” evaluated the oppression against oppositional art and artists, especially Kurdish ones. Fırtına said, “If the government owns and claims art, then it’s only natural for art to be shaped according to the government’s ideology, and artists will be oppressed. This is inevitable. Therefore, instead of coming up with temporary solutions according to the liking of the government, we must leave art free. Then it won’t matter who is in power,” underlining the need for fundamental structural change.
Second stay of execution for RTÜK’s penalty on “Kızılcık Şerbeti”
26 April 2023
Ankara Regional Administrative Court overturned RTÜK’s penalty decision and stopped the execution. The series aired with its 23rd episode on Friday, April 28.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) issued a second stay of execution for the five-week suspension penalty for the series “Kızılcık Şerbeti,” which is broadcast on Fridays on Show TV. Thus, the 23rd episode, which could not be shown before, was broadcast on Friday evening, April 28, 2023.
Aram Publishing House raided
25 April 2023
Aram Publishing House in Diyarbakır was subject to a raid along with many homes in the morning hours as part of an investigation by Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. It was learned that the police broke the door of the company and seized hard disks and some archived books after searching the premises.
Musician Mehmet Dudarık’s offender released
26 April 2023
Bilge Kaan Korkmaz, who was arrested on charges of beating and injuring Mehmet Dudarık, was released.
Mehmet Dudarık, the drummer of the music band Piiz, and his friend Oğuzhan Oğuz were beaten by Bilge Kaan Korkmaz, who claimed that they stepped on his foot while dancing at an entertainment venue in Ankara on Wednesday, December 14, 2022. The two friends remained in intensive care for a while. Dudarık was discharged on December 22.
On December 16, Bilge Kaan Korkmaz, who was detained and sent to prison after being arrested by the court on duty, has been released. Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed the decision.
The defendant Korkmaz was tried at Ankara 65th Criminal Court of First Instance with the demand of imprisonment up to 13 years and 6 months on the charges of “intentional assault causing bone fracture and life-threatening injury.” At the hearing held yesterday, Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor submitted a request for the continuation of the defendant’s detention.
The court decided to release the defendant considering the time elapsed in detention, the collection of evidence to a great extent and the current stage of the trial. The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to the court’s decision and requested that the defendant be re-arrested. The case was sent to the heavy criminal court on duty to make a final decision on the motion.
Kurdish artists detained
25 April 2023
Many politicians, journalists and lawyers, as well as artists, were detained in the morning hours in a Diyarbakır-based operation.
As part of an investigation carried out by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, many houses were raided in the morning hours and nearly 150 people, including Kurdish artists, were detained. Journalist Azad Altay said, “Amed City Theater, Dicle Culture and Arts Association, Mesopotamia Culture and Arts Association and Bahar Cultural Center were raided: Many artists were taken into custody,” and stated that the detained artists were Yavuz Akkuzu, Elvan Köçer, Yıldırım Özcan Ateş, Sena Özbey, Şahperi Alphan Bayhan and Sadettin İnal. Musician Devrim Demir was also detained.
Announcing that a confidentiality order has been imposed on the case, the Diyarbakır Bar Association made the following statement:
“Fundamental rights and liberties are being arbitrarily violated and rights defenders, particularly lawyers, and their affiliated professional and non-governmental organizations are being targeted by the justice system and threatened with penalties. It is observed that protection measures such as arrest and detention are unwarranted, unnecessary and disproportionate measures against rights defenders, and a ban on attorney consultation and a confidentiality order on the investigation file have been taken.”
Kurdish artists are calling out: “React to this injustice”
25 April 2023
Theater actors, directors and writers reacting to the Diyarbakır-based detention operations came together in Batman and addressed the public: “We are calling out from Batman. Everyone must hear this injustice now. We are calling everyone to speak out against this injustice.”
According to Metin Yoksu from Artı Gerçek online newspaper, Kurdish artists came together after many actors from the Amed City Theater were detained in the Diyarbakır-based operation. Speaking on behalf of the actors, Nîsk Huner actor and influencer Bahoz Özsunar made the statement in Kurdish.
“Not the first scandal, nor will it be”
Özsunar stated that these operations against Kurdish art have become all too familiar and continued as follows:
“This is neither the first nor will be the last scandal. We remember well the burning of Yılmaz Güney Cinema, the prevention and banning of plays in the Kurdish language and the torture of Kurdish artists in detention. We strongly condemn the oppression of Kurdish art, language and theater.”
“They are afraid of Kurdish art”
Speaking on behalf of artists who perform, write and stage theater in Kurdish, Özsunar said:
“We might not be able to find the parties responsible for this shame, but we will continue to present content to the Kurdish people in their mother tongue on the stage, in front of the cameras, on the streets and everywhere we can. We know the fear very well. They carry out dawn raids to silence Kurdish art, because it keeps them up at night – Kurdish art has become their nightmare. That is why they think they can silence Kurdish art with dawn raids. But they should know that no matter how much they may act out of spite against Kurdish art, we will not compromise our stance or our art. The rise in Kurdish art in recent years is the outcome of our labor. That is why we must raise our voices together. We are calling out from Batman. This injustice must be heard by everyone. We ask the public to speak out against this injustice.”
TİP responds to detentions: “Kurdish theater is not a crime”
26 April 2023
Following the detention of many politicians, lawyers, journalists and artists in a Diyarbakır-based operation yesterday morning, statements expressing support and reaction are being published from different professional groups. The Workers’ Party of Turkey’s (TİP) Culture and Arts Bureau also shared a post reacting to the detention of Amed City Theater artists.
In its first post reacting to the detentions, Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) used the phrase “Protest theater is not a crime,” which drew the reaction that the detentions were specifically targeting Kurdish artists and that reacting without acknowledging this would mean covering up the oppression. In response, TİP Culture and Arts Bureau removed the post and published a new message, which read, “Our friends, the artists from the Amed City Theater, who are among the 216 people detained in Diyarbakır-based police operation, are not alone. You cannot create criminals out of art and artists. Kurdish theater is not a crime.”
Artists make a statement: “We will resist stronger!”
26 April 2023
Artists gathered in Beyoğlu to protest the Diyarbakır-based detentions and demanded the immediate release of their friends.
Mesopotamia Cultural Center (MKM), Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) Culture and Arts Assembly, Gölge Culture and Arts Center and İsyan Ateşi music group protested at the headquarters in Beyoğlu against the detention of 128 Kurdish artists, journalists, politicians and lawyers.
The statement can be summarized as follows:
“The peoples do not want anything else but to be free. They struggle to have their existence recognized by pursuing the multilingual and multicultural realities. As artists, who are the soul of the society, we must clearly state that none of us will have the chance to live humanely unless this country is democratized and liberated. We have never bowed down to any attack for the sake of elections and we will never do so. Our resistance will be stronger together. Detained lawyers, politicians, artists and journalists must be released immediately.”
Six Kurdish actors and musician Devrim Demir released
28 April 2023
Amed City Theater actors Yavuz Akkuzu, Elvan Koçer Yıldırım, Özcan Ateş, Sena Özbey, Şahperi Alphan Bayhan, Saadettin İnan and musician Devrim Demir, who were among the 128 people detained on April 25, were released in the evening on April 27.
The news was announced on Amed City Theater’s official Twitter account. It was stated, “We got our detained actor friends released. Everyone is welcome to attend our play ‘Wê Hesab Neyê Dayîn’ tomorrow and the day after tomorrow!”
Rapper Ohash ordered to be deported
28 April 2023
Iranian rapper Ohash, who was detained in April based on his tweets on Twitter, was ordered to be deported.
A campaign was launched with the hashtag #freeohash to demand Ohash’s release and the lifting of the deportation order. Especially rap artists and audiences are trying to raise their voices and ensure Ohash’s release through this campaign.
The posts that led to Ohash’s detention were about being stopped by police officers at the Ankara Train Station on March 30 and missing his train because he was kept waiting for a long time. In these posts, Ohash wrote that “his photos were taken with a camera right in his face,” that “he was subjected to racist discrimination” and that “his personal belongings and phone were confiscated for 15 minutes.”
After responding to Erdoğan’s insult, Cansu Gültekin sentenced to house arrest
29 April 2023
Actress Cansu Gültekin was sentenced with house arrest for “insulting the President.” The duration of the sentence was not specified in the court decision.
After Erdoğan responded to the people criticizing the Red Crescent by saying “You immoral, dishonest, despicable people,” Cansu Gültekin had shared an image published by the Workers’ Party of Turkey (TİP) about Erdoğan and shared the post with the message “That would be you.”
The image shared by TİP on February 21, 2023 read “Don’t curse, just resign.”
AKP President Tayyip Erdoğan responded to the criticism against the state’s inadequacy to respond in the earthquake zone following the earthquakes that struck Maraş on February 6 with insults in a statement he made in Osmaniye, which were later quoted by TİP. Upon Cansu Gültekin’s conviction, the Workers’ Party of Turkey published a message of support on the Twitter account of Culture and Arts Workers.
Hasan Can Kaya’s joke about Elazığ province brings legal action from Fırat University
30 April 2023
Fırat University initiated legal action against the presenter Hasan Can Kaya, who made a joke saying “Computer engineering with no computers” after a guest said they graduated from Elazığ’s Fırat University Computer Engineering department in the show “Konuşanlar” aired on the online platform Exxen.
With the following statement made from the official Twitter account of the university, it was announced that a legal process was initiated against Kaya:
“We condemn the presenter named Hasan Can Kaya, who made humiliating statements about our university and our city in a program broadcast on a media platform, and we expect him to apologize. In addition, legal action will be taken against the person concerned.”
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / April 16-22
Artists keep receiving threats and attacks
“Gavur Mahallesi” exhibition in İzmir vandalized
16 April 2023
Artist Ahmet Güneştekin’s exhibition “Gavur Mahallesi” (Infidels’ Quarter), which depicts the process of population exchange and migration, was vandalized.
The works of artist Ahmet Güneştekin, which were presented in the open-air section of the exhibition, were attacked by unknown persons. In the exhibition, which opened on November 3, 2022, hosted by Izmir Metropolitan Municipality, the person or persons who wanted to take the suitcases exhibited sandwiched between marble blocks overturned the blocks, and some suitcases were stolen.
Kurdish artist Serhat Kural receives death threats
19 April 2023
Singer and dancer Serhat Kural posted on Twitter that he is receiving death threats. “I don’t expect my work to be welcomed by everyone. Anyone can criticize as they wish, but it is terrible to face insults and receive death threats…”
Speaking to the PMAF Platform, Kural stated that all of his works has been denounced on social media for a long time but this is the first time he has received death threats. The artist has received a threat over the video clip of his song “Kovî,” written and composed by him, and the intimidator said “If you don’t delete the video, I will find you and kill you.” Kural stated that he received hateful comments all the time under his dance videos, but this was the first time he received a death threat.
Stating that he is not planning to take legal action yet, Kural said that he may resort to that if the threats continue.
Possible solutions sought for freedom of artistic expression
Artists gathered at Free Arts Council
17 April 2023
Called to action by over 500 artists, politicians and art lovers, Özgür Sanat Meclisi (Free Arts Council) gathered at Kadıköy Gazhane on April 17 to discuss the oppression and problems encountered in different branches of art.
In the meeting themed “Artists are talking,” artists were called to get organized and take collective action, and it was underlined that the biggest obstacles for freedom of art are political oppression and economic difficulties.
The managers of Gölge Culture and Arts Center (GKSM) and Science, Education and Aesthetics Culture and Arts Research Foundation (BEKSAV) also attended the meeting. HDP Istanbul MP Musa Piroğlu and Leftist Green Party MP candidate Kerem Fırtına also took part in the meeting.
“Art is always political”
Karşı Arts Center member Feyyaz Yaman spoke at the meeting, saying, “Art is always political. Demanding freedom is only possible if we draw strength from this state of politicization. Art’s relationship with politics has been documented in our living spaces and bodies,” underlining the political nature of art.
Writer, poet and screenwriter Eşber Yağmurdereli emphasized the need of artists for freedom by saying “It is said that Turkey is going through one of its most difficult periods, but as artists we have always lived under difficult conditions.”
Event by Bread and Roses platform on difficulties faced by women artists
17 April 2023
Bread and Roses platform, in collaboration with Sanat Fabrika, organized an event where women artists voiced their problems.
Gender inequality, one of the most important obstacles in the way of freedom of artistic expression, can be overcome through events where women artists express the difficulties they face in their business. This event took place on Monday, April 17 at 20:00 over Zoom, with the participation of women from various branches of art.
Law is becoming an instrument in keeping artists in check
Author Ercan y Yılmaz called to testify
18 April 2023
PEN member and author Ercan y Yılmaz announced on his social media account that he had been summoned to testify because of a tweet he had posted, saying, “I was called to testify because of a tweet. I never wrote anything I didn’t believe in.”
Speaking to the PMAF Platform, writer Ercan y Yılmaz stated that he received a call from the Tuzla Police Department on April 17 and was told, “There are complaints about one of your tweets, you need to come to the police station and submit a statement.”
When he told the police that he could not do that because he was abroad, the police told him that he could give a statement at the consulate; however, he later found out from his attorney friends that they don’t take legal statements at the consulate. Yılmaz couldn’t get the details of the investigation or learn which tweet they were referring to, because he didn’t legally authorize a lawyer to represent him before he left the country, but he said, “I have a few guesses. Some of my tweets criticizing Erdoğan and the government received notifications from the General Directorate of Security (EGM). It should ve one of those tweets, but I am not sure”
Yılmaz said that he has been systematically harassed for some time and the address and photos of his home were shared on some social media accounts. Moreover, on November 24, his car was attacked parked in the parking lot, and also an interview with him on TRT2 was censored.
Hazal Kaya accused of insulting Musa Orhan, with demand of imprisonment
19 April 2023
Following the trial of former specialist sergeant Musa Orhan, who was accused of sexually assaulting 18-year-old İpek Er in Batman and driving her to suicide, countless artists shared posts reacting to the issue. Following the prosecution of actress Ezgi Mola for insulting Musa Orhan, an indictment was prepared against Hazal Kaya, one of the artists who supported her, with the demand of imprisonment up to 2 years and 4 months for “publicly insulting with audio, written or visual message.”
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / April 8-15
Artist uses the word “slut” as used by Erdoğan and now tried for prison
11 April 2023
Women had filed a criminal complaint against President and AKP Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for calling Gezi protesters “slut”” on June 1, 2022. The word “slut” came on top of Erdoğan’s countless other insults against the public, such as “poor in dignity, wretched, pathetic, ignorant, thug, devoid of dignity, dishonorable, a waste of an artist, poor in decency, immoral, assassin of dignity, blood sucker.” The word “slut” as uttered by Erdoğan was used in the visual design artist Berkay Kahvecioğlu’s artwork. The artist, who designed an album cover using this word along with Erdoğan’s portrait, was sued for insulting the president. The first hearing of the case will be held on May 16, 2023.
In an interview with Bianet, Kahvecioğlu said, “There is an insult by Erdoğan and a portrait representation of it. Rather than being targeted, Erdoğan stands there as the one who is doing the targeting. As a result, someone summons the artist to court for trial.”
Prison arbitrarily bans Aslı Erdoğan’s book!
14 April 2023
Aslı Erdoğan’s book “Artık Sessizlik Bile Senin Değil” (Even Silence is Not Yours Anymore) was banned by a prison even though there is no official ban against it.
Writer Aslı Erdoğan’s book “Artık Sessizlik Bile Senin Değil,” which was sent to Erdoğan Uçar, a prisoner in Izmir T Type Closed Prison No. 3, was confiscated and not given to him.
Published in 2017 by Karakarga Publishing, the book is a compilation of Aslı Erdoğan’s writings published in Radikal and Özgür Gündem newspapers and Karakarga magazine. The book, which has been translated into many languages, has been awarded many prizes such as the Princess Margriet Award for Culture, Erich Maria Remarque Peace Prize, Theodor Heuss Medal, Bruno Kreisky Prize for Human Rights and Karl Tucholsky Prize and is still on sale in bookstores in Turkey.
Prison disciplinary board: “It’s a threat”
The prison’s disciplinary board claimed that articles published between 2011 and 2016 in Özgür Gündem newspaper, which was shut down by a Decree Law (KHK), defamed the Turkish Armed Forces and compared Turkey to Nazi Germany. The Board also stated that the mention of Suphi Nejat Ağırnaslı and Arîn Mîrkan, who lost their lives while fighting against ISIS, was objectionable.
The Board also claimed that the book could “strengthen the relationship with the organization” of detainees imprisoned on charges of “being a member of the organization” and considered this as a “threat.” With these allegations, the book was confiscated on November 16, 2022.
Court approves the decision
Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office upheld the board’s decision on November 23. Uçar then filed an appeal to Karşıyaka 2nd Execution Judgeship. However, one day after the appeal, the judgeship found the decision of the board and the prosecutor “in accordance with procedure and law.”
Uçar appealed the decision to Karşıyaka 1st High Criminal Court. In its decision dated December 2, the court, citing the allegations made by the board, the prosecutor and the judge, found the decision “in accordance with procedure and law.”
Kurdish translation confiscated
Subsequently, Uçar sent a letter to author Erdoğan stating that the book was confiscated and not given to him. Uçar also wrote that he had translated her book “Kırmızı Pelerinli Kent” (The City with the Red Cloak) into Kurdish, but it was confiscated by the administration. Uçar shared that many of his notes, scripts and works were also confiscated by the guards.
Aslı Erdoğan: “Shameful!”
Writer Aslı Erdoğan made a statement about the prison’s banning decision and stated that her book has been translated into French, saying, “My book became a best seller in a few weeks. It was narrated by Catherine Deneuve. It has been translated into German, Italian, Romanian, Swedish, Norwegian, Dutch and Greek. It won an award in Italy and was adapted for the theater in Austria. It is shameful that a work of literature that has achieved international success is considered ‘propaganda.’”
AKP uses Şeyhmus Diken’s book’s title unlawfully
14 April 2023
The title of the book by author Şeyhmus Diken was used without permission on the poster for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Diyarbakır rally.
Writer Şeyhmus Diken announced on his social media account that the title of his book was used on posters prepared by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) for an election rally call. The call announces that AKP President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will be in Diyarbakır that day, May 14, to campaign for the 2023 elections.
Diken said, “They used the title of my book! It was all I had…” Diken used the poster and the cover of his book in his post.
Diken’s 2001 book “Sırrını Surlara Fısıldayan Şehir: Diyarbakır” (The City Whispering Its Secret to the Walls) was published by İletişim Publishing House.
The PMAF Platform reached out to Şeyhmus Diken, who explained the reason for making this post as follows: “I just wanted people to know about the source of the expression used in this call. I don’t care about receiving credit or royalties. In any case, a writer produces and presents their word to readers. After that, that word belongs to the public. But I think it is important to know who said it and to give credit where it’s due.”
Episode taken down at the last minute and channel airs documentary on Islamophobia in place of “Kızılcık Şerbeti”
14 April 2023
The five show suspensions imposed by the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) on the series “Kızılcık Şerbeti” had been suspended by a court decision. However, as Doğukan Güngör and Barış Kılıç, two of the actors of the series, shared on their social media accounts, the series was canceled with a decision notified to the channel at 17:00 on April 14. Then, when the recap of previous week’s episode was broadcast at 20:00, the actors announced the current situation by posting, “It was a mistake – we are on air.”
After all these developments, the channel issued a statement after the recap, stating that the series would not be broadcast that night due to RTÜK’s decision, and instead began broadcasting an Islamophobia documentary that opened with Erdoğan’s remarks on Islamophobia.
Court implements stay of execution for RTÜK’s penalty on Halk TV
14 April 2023
Court orders a stay of execution on RTÜK’s fine against Halk TV for showing Demirtaş’s book Dad.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) fined Halk TV for showing former HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş’s book Dad and the court issued a stay of execution.
Halk TV Ankara Group Representative Serhan Asker announced the new decision of the Regional Administrative Court on the TV program “Medya Mahallesi” (Media Neighborhood) with Ayşenur Arslan.
RTÜK member İlhan Taşcı, who is a member of the Council elected from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) quota, had announced RTÜK’s penalty on March 22, 2023.
Report on Freedom of Artistic Expression in Turkey / April 1-7
5-week broadcast ban and 1.5 million TL fine on series “Kızılcık Şerbeti”
1 April 2023
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) imposed a five-week broadcast suspension and an administrative fine of 1.5 million liras on the Show TV series “Kızılcık Şerbeti” for “violence against women.”
According to journalist Birsen Altuntaş, the suspension penalty was notified to Show TV. The channel will exercise its right to appeal against the decision on Monday. If the appeal is denied, the series will not be aired for 5 weeks starting from April 7.
Even if the court rules in line with RTÜK’s decision, the series is expected to air two or three more episodes.
An investigation was launched on March 13 after the character Nursema was thrown out of a window by the man her family forced her to marry in the 10th episode of the series featuring Sıla Türkoğlu, Doğukan Güngör, Evrim Alasya, Barış Kılıç, Sibel Taşçıoğlu, Settar Tanrıöğen and Ceren Karakoç. The episode was shown on March 10, 2023. (Source: https://www.reportare.com/soz/kizilcik-serbeti-dizisi-icin-rtuk-inceleme-baslatti/)
On March 22, İlhan Taşçı, a member of RTÜK from the CHP, announced that a 5% monetary fine and 5 times broadcast suspension had been imposed. (Source: https://www.reportare.com/soz/rtukten-show-tvye-kizilcik-serbeti-cezasi/)
Reactions of artists
Sıla Türkoğlu, who plays the character Doğa in the series “Kızılcık Şerbeti,” reacted on social media with the hashtag “RTÜK Kızılcık Şerbetine Dokunma” (RTÜK Leave Kızılcık Şerbeti Alone) saying, “Is it because we confront the brutal truth about women in our society and don’t portray voiceless female characters?”
Müjde Uzman, who plays the character Alev in the series, also used the same hashtag and reacted saying, “It’s art’s job to criticize and hold a mirror toward society. It enhances perception and helps develop an interest in what is good and beautiful. Sadly, those who speak the truth are dismissed from society. But we are here.”
Actors such as Nurgül Yeşilçay, Doğukan Güngör and Devrim Özkan shared their support through the hashtag “RTÜK Kızılcık Şerbetine Dokunma.”
Singer Hadise reminded the ban imposed on her song “Sıfır Tolerans” in 2018 and criticized the ban imposed on the series:
“After they labeled my Sıfır Tolerans video as erotic in 2018 and banned it from broadcast on TV channels, RTÜK decisions and bans no longer surprise me. I didn’t keep quiet then and I won’t keep quiet now! I find this ban on the series Kızılcık Şerbeti pointless and groundless. I hope to see the days when they realize that they cannot stop violence against women by banning TV series and that they have to take concrete steps…”
Actors’ Union: Penalty for “Kızılcık Şerbeti” is censorship!
3 April 2023
The Actors’ Union stated that they regard the Radio and Television Supreme Council’s (RTÜK) decision to impose five show suspensions on the Show TV series “Kızılcık Şerbeti” as “censorship” and called for the decision to be reversed.
The series, which depicts the conflict between conservative and secular lifestyles through the perspective of two families, has recently been targeted for being “offensive to the conservative family structure.” RTÜK launched an investigation and imposed a broadcast ban for 5 weeks and a fine of 1.5 million TL on the TV channel. The decision was notified to Show TV on April 1, 2023.
The Actors’ Union made a statement addressing how the actors and the crew will be victimized if the penalty is applied, and made the following remarks:
“In these days when society is polarized, violence against women and femicides are on the rise, and there is talk of repealing the Law No. 6284 on the prevention of violence against women, we are astonished that the criticizing scenes in the series in question are perceived as ‘violence against women’ and we do not support this kind of censorship.
As the Actors’ Union, we hereby ask: How will the material and moral victimization of both the actors and the crew during the suspension be compensated? How will the actors and technical staff, who will be unable to work during this period, be able to sustain their lives?
“Censorship directly affects the professional lives of actors. For this reason, the decision must be reversed and the obstacles in the way of freedom of artistic expression must be stopped.”
Ordu’s “Three Girls” statue vandalized for the fourth time
4 April 2023
In Altınordu district of Ordu, the “Three Girls” outdoor statue, named after a local folk song, was vandalized yet again. The statue had been attacked three times before.
Unidentified person(s) severed the leg of one of the statues from the body. The municipality reported the attack to the police, who then launched an investigation and examined security footage from the surrounding area.
The statues, which were vandalized by defacing them with graffiti, were reclaimed by sculptor Özgür Özmen in 2013. The head of one of the statues, which was put back in its place, was broken again in 2016. The statue was once again repaired and replaced. In November 2022, the foot of one of the statues was separated from the body. Ordu Metropolitan Municipality had initiated work to repair the foot of the statue.
Yeşim Salkım acquitted on insulting the President
5 April 2023
Singer Yeşim Salkım was acquitted in the case she was tried for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The verdict was delivered at the hearing held on April 3, 2023 and Yeşim Salkım announced the news of her acquittal on her Instagram account one day later.
The lawsuit against Salkım was filed after Seyhan Soylu, known as Sisi, filed a complaint to the prosecutor’s office via her lawyer in September 2022. The process leading to Yeşim Salkım’s trial started with her dispute with singer Murat Övüç that began on social media and lasted for months. Seyhan Soylu, who wanted to reconcile the two, later filed a complaint on the grounds that Yeşim Salkım called President Erdoğan a “dictator” in the video she filmed to respond to her. The first hearing was held on November 8, 2022.
In the trial held at Istanbul 36th Criminal Court of First Instance, a prison sentence of 1 year and 2 months to 4 years and 8 months was requested for Yeşim Salkım.
Publishers Association 2022 report issued: “Independent publishing has gone back 7 years”
6 April 2023
The Turkish Publishers Association (TYB) has published its 2022 Book Market Report. In the report, it was stated that the effects of the pandemic are still ongoing, and that the global paper and the foreign exchange crisis in Turkey have dragged the publishing sector into a major bottleneck.
It was pointed out that the independent publishing market shrank by 13% compared to the previous year, and that “the findings show that the sector has gone back 7 years.” While academic publishing has a ratio of 0.63 books per student, the ratio of these publications to the sector was only 1.38%.
The Ministry of National Education’s announcement that 110 million supplementary textbooks would be distributed free of charge also supposedly hit the sector. “In 2022, educational publishing fell 22.23% behind in book output compared to the previous year, and books produced in the field of education fell below 50% of the market for the first time,” the report said.
While the size of the Turkish retail publishing market increased by 83.68% compared to 2021 in current prices unadjusted against inflation in US dollars, the report also mentions a 17.57% decline in the sector compared to 2021.
All these data reveal that the state of publishing in Turkey has reached a level that threatens freedom of artistic expression, especially in the field of literature.
You can access the complete report via the link below.
Appeal against the recall of “Rüyası Bölünenler” denied
6 April 2023
Istanbul 8th Criminal Judicature of Peace rejected author Yavuz Ekinci’s appeal against the recall order against his novel “Rüyası Bölünenler” (Dream Divided).
Yavuz Ekinci’s lawyer Can Ekinci stated on his Twitter account that they will make the necessary applications to the Constitutional Court.
Yavuz Ekinci’s statement is as follows:
“On 14.03.2023, Istanbul 7th Criminal Judicature of Peace issued a recall order against my client author Yavuz Ekinci’s book ‘Rüyası Bölünenler,’ published by Doğan Publishing, and we have appealed against the decision. Our appeal was denied by the Istanbul 8th Criminal Judicature of Peace, which examined the appeal. We will make the necessary applications to the Constitutional Court regarding the denial. The recall decision and the refusal of the appeal are arbitrary and this situation is worrisome in terms of the rule of law.”
The decision to recall “Rüyası Bölünenler” was taken pursuant to Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law No. 3713 and Article 25/2 of the Press Law No. 5187 on the grounds that it “makes propaganda for the PKK terrorist organization.” With this decision, “Rüyası Bölünenler” was also banned from printing, distribution and sale.
The novel, written by Yavuz Ekinci, was first published by Doğan Kitap in 2014. The book was re-published by Everest Publishing in December 2022. The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had filed a lawsuit against the edition of the novel published by Doğan Kitap.
“Kızılcık Şerbeti” airs tonight as per court order
7 April 2023
The Radio and Television Supreme Council’s (RTÜK) five-episode suspension decision against the series Cranberry Sorbet was revoked by order of court. The RTÜK penalty was to be enforced as of April 7.
Show TV lawyers had exercised their right to appeal against this penalty, which has never been imposed before in the history of television, on Monday morning. According to a report by journalist Birsen Altuntaş, the higher court evaluated the appeal request and issued a stay of execution.
Source: Birsen Altuntaş https://www.birsenaltuntas.com/dizi/kizilcik-serbeti-dizisi-bu-aksam-yayinlacak-mi-iste-son-gelisme/19433/
Attorney Kubilay Büber: “Mahir Akkoyun is free!”
7 April 2023
Turkish graphic designer Mahir Akkoyun, who designed stickers with photos of AKP leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli in an effort to draw attention to soaring prices and inflation in Turkish supermarkets, has been detained.
Mahir Akkoyun announced his detention on Twitter in morning hours. Lawyers from the Izmir Bar Association responded to the social media call for Akkoyun’s defense. Kubilay Büber, one of the lawyers, said that Mahir Akkoyun’s testimony at the prosecutor’s office was finalized as of 14.30 and that he was referred to the court with the request to be released on judicial control conditions and a ban on leaving the country.
Speaking to the PMAF Platform, lawyer Büber said that Mahir Akkoyun was released as of 18.50 and that “their plea to lift judicial control was rejected.” According to Büber, Akkoyun was referred to court by the prosecutor’s office on charges of insulting the President, but only testified on charges of violating the Election Law.
Akkoyun was charged under Article 61 of the Election Law, which defines the “prohibitions on places of announcements and advertisements.” This article regulates the prohibition of propaganda from the beginning of the election until the day following the voting day.
Sanat Özgürlüğünü İzleme Platformu projesi Özgürlük İçin Friedrich Naumann Vakfı Doğu ve Güneydoğu Avrupa Bölge Ofisi (Sofya) tarafından desteklenmektedir.
Platform for Monitoring Artistic Freedom project is supported by Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom East and Southeast Europe Regional Office (Sofia).