Turkey: Sezen Aksu responds to Turkish president with new lyrics

Turkey: Sezen Aksu responds to Turkish president with new lyrics

Η Σεζέν Ακσού απαντά στις απειλές του Ερντογάν με νέους στίχους

Turkey: Sezen Aksu responds to Turkish president with new lyrics

After Erdoğan spoke at a mosque, saying, "It is our duty to cut out the tongues of the defilers of Adam and Eve", Sezen Aksu has responded with new lyrics, entitled 'The Hunter', and 217 artists have released a statement supporting her against Erdoğan's threats.

One of Turkey’s most influential musicians was targeted by the Turkish president after a social media campaign was launched against her. However, 217 writers, musicians, poets, journalists and academics have released a statement in her support.

The smear campaign was launched on social media only recently in response to the lyrics of a song released by Sezen Aksu in 2017. The lyrics of the song, entitled ‘Şahane bir şey yaşamak’ (‘Living is a wondeful thing’), read:

“We’re riding on an omen / We’re travelling to doomsday / Greet the ignorant / Adam and Eve”

Then on Friday (21 January) Turkish president Erdoğan targeted Aksu for the way she had used Adam and Eve in the lyrics, which he claimed was defiling.

Erdoğan made his remarks with a cleric by his side, from a stage-like platform in a mosque he visited for prayers.

“Nobody can defile the venerable Adam,” he started. “It is our duty to cut out the tongues of the defilers when it becomes necessary. Nobody can defile our mother Eve. It is our duty to show those defilers their place.”

Aksu responded to Erdoğan’s comments on Saturday, saying, “As you’re all aware, the issue isn’t about me but the country. I’ve been observing different human states and expressing them in my own words ever since I became conscious of my own existence.”

Aksu then shared some new lyrics she had written on the previous night after hearing about Erdoğan’s remarks.

The title of these lyrics is ‘The Hunter’:

You can’t sadden me
I am so sad already
There’s pain wherever I look
There’s pain wherever I look
I am the prey you are the hunter
Let’s see you shoot…

You can’t see me coming
You can’t oppress my tongue
there’s pain wherever I look
there’s pain wherever I look
Who is the traveller, who is the inn-keeper?
Let’s wait and see…

You can’t kill me
I have my voice, my saz*, my word
I say I, but I am everyone

Aksu finished saying, ‘I’ve been writing for 47 years, and I’ll continue to write.”

A group of artists released a statement on Sunday in a declaration of support for Sezen Aksu and against Erdoğan’s targeting of the freedom of expression.

The statement, signed by some of the most renowned Turkish writers, such as Latife Tekin, Elif Şafak and Ece Temelkuran, said:

“We have been following with great discontent the remarks by the president and Justice and Welfare Party (AKP) chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has targeted Sezen Aksu and displayed complete disregard for the freedom of expression. We stand firmly against this attack against Sezen Aksu, who has been writing and performing for 47 years, and has gifted dozens of songs to the cultural accumulation of these lands. We do not want to live in a country where freedom of expression is trampled underfoot and threatened with the ‘cutting out of tongues’. We declare that we stand united and in solidarity against this attack.”

The statement concluded: “The tongue which they want to ‘cut out’ is the tongue of free art. We, as artists, have struggled hard to protect the tongues of all those living in these lands, and will continue to do so with equal determination.”

*A saz is a stringed instrument resembling a long-necked lute