Pro-government media outlets have unleashed a flurry of attacks and insults on famous Turkish pop singer Sezen Aksu after she publicly objected the quarrying activities of a pro-government company in northern Turkey.
For several weeks a group of villagers have been protesting the opening of a stone quarry by Cengiz Holding in northern Rize province, arguing that the project would harm their means of earning a living as well as natural resources in the region.
Aksu, in a written statement on Wednesday, said: “This homeland is the homeland of us, our mothers, our fathers and our children. The authority that we temporarily grant to the government is not aimed at taking away our spaces for living and our lives. If you insist on treating your people like this [by ignoring their demands], you will have exceeded your authority and lose your legitimacy.”
Aksu’s statement angered pro-government media circles, which went so far as to accuse the singer of hinting at a coup against the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
The pro-government ensonhaber news website likened Aksu’s statement to a coup declaration, claiming that she was threatening the government by saying that it would lose its legitimacy by ignoring the protestors.
The pro-government Takvim daily said Aksu, who illegally built a villa in the western province of İzmir and allowed the sewage from her house drain into the sea, was attacking the government through groundless accusations as if she had real concerns for the environment.
The daily also said Aksu’s late father was a follower of the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in 2016, a claim strongly denied by the movement.
The stone from the quarry in Rize’s İkizdere will be used for a project known as the İyidere Logistics Center and Port, which is being built by Cengiz Holding. As attention on the protests increased, Cengiz Holding and Ankara have been forced to defend the project. Cengiz said Tuesday it was the government that decided on the quarry’s location, while the transport ministry insisted Wednesday the environment would not be damaged.