Turkey: Kurdish singers are accused of ‘singing in Kurdish’

Turkey: Kurdish singers are accused of ‘singing in Kurdish’

Τουρκία: Κούρδοι τραγουδιστές κατηγορούνται επειδή τραγουδούν στα κουρδικά

Turkey: Kurdish singers are accused of ‘singing in Kurdish’

The Kurdish language continues to suffer from criminalisation in Turkey, as a prosecutor seeks to charge the members of a musical group with "propaganda" over a song they sang in Kurdish.

On 21 March, Newroz was enthusiastically celebrated throughout Turkey, mainly by the Kurds living in the eastern and southeastern regions of the country.

Newroz 2021 celebrations in general gave voice to the Kurds in Turkey, who chanted their slogans to protest the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan, the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Under the slogan “Let us resist with the Newroz fire, let us liberate ourselves,” millions of Kurds attended Newroz celebrations in their cities in the spirit of resistance against the increasing pressure on the Kurds and the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

A massive Newroz demonstration was also organised in the eastern province of Van (Wan). Various Kurdish singers took to the stage and played their music for the masses.

The members of one of the musical acts, Koma Awaze Azad, now face trial over a song they sang in Kurdish, MA reports.

“We are facing charges because of a song titled ‘Mizgîna leheng’ we performed,” said Fuat Ege, a band member.

Ege revealed that a prosecutor prepared an indictment both against him and another band member, Rohat Aram, on charges of “propaganda”.

If a judge accepts the indictment, the first hearing of the trial against the Kurdish artists will be held on 30 September in a heavy penalty court in Van.

“The police have asked us ‘Why did you sing this song?’ and ‘Do you know the meaning of this song?’ when we were in the police station,” said Ege.

“They kept saying that the song was banned, but no song accepted by the people should be banned. All songs in all languages such as Kurdish, Turkish or Laz, should be sung freely.”

Defining the indictment prepared against them as “intolerance”, Ege said, “Our people should know that there is no toleration for our songs, our colours, our enthusiasm, our Newroz. Our people, who have a strong will, should preserve their culture. They should be critically analysing how the Kurdish language and culture is banned.”

But despite all the bans and repression, the Kurdish band will continue to sing their songs in Kurdish. “We will continue our work non-stop,” he said. “Actually, we will do this more passionately and with more determination.”