Famous Turkish singer faces legal proceedings for ‘denigrating religious values’ in song lyrics

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A group of people in Ankara have filed a criminal complaint against famous Turkish pop singer Sezen Aksu, accusing her of “denigrating religious values observed by a part of the public” due to the lyrics of one of her 2017 songs, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Monday.

The complaint, filed by a group including lawyer Mikail Yılmaz, was based on the lyrics of a song titled “Living Is Something Amazing” that Aksu made with musician Yaşar Gaga in 2017, which includes a sentence that says, “Say hi to that ignorant Adam and Eve,” DW said.

The 2017 song came to public attention after Aksu posted it on her YouTube channel two weeks ago with a note to celebrate 2022.

Making a statement to the press after filing the complaint, Yılmaz claimed that Aksu used “derogatory statements about Adam and Eve in a way that may cause public outrage” with the aim of denigrating the religious figures.

“This situation aroused righteous anger among those who believe in the religion of Islam. Anger against the suspect was also [voiced] by many on the suspect’s YouTube channel, Facebook page and personal website,” Yılmaz said, referring to Aksu.

Stating that lyrics by Aksu regarding Adam and Eve couldn’t be considered within the scope of freedom of expression, Yılmaz continued to say that they demanded a decision to remove the content and block access to the song on the Internet, in addition to the confiscation of income from the song.

Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), described Aksu as “irresponsible” for making such a “monstrosity,” in reference to the 2017 song.

More than 20 representatives from the Milli Beka Hareketi, a nationalist movement expressing open support for Bahçeli and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Tuesday gathered in front of Aksu’s house in İstanbul’s Beykoz district in a move interpreted by many as a threat targeting the famous singer.

The leader of the group, Murat Şahin, said in a press statement that they had gathered in front of Aksu’s house to put the singer in her place for insulting Adam and Eve and not to threaten anyone.

After the song’s lyrics sparked criticism and threats by conservative politicians, media outlets and circles, a number of opposition politicians, singers, actors and actresses in Turkey expressed support for Aksu, taking to social media and posting messages under the hashtag #SezenAksuYalnızDeğildir (Sezen Aksu isn’t alone.)

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