Turkey’s Justice Ministry is seeking an INTERPOL Red Notice for famous Kurdish singer and activist Ferhat Tunç, who lives in exile in Germany, in line with an arrest warrant issued for him in 2021 for failing to attend court hearings, the singer announced on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The singer, 59, said he was shocked to learn about the request of the Turkish Justice Ministry for an INTERPOL Red Notice because his lawyer is following the course of his trials in Turkey and he had already volunteered to present a defense at a German court via an international legal assistance mechanism.
The decision was made at an İstanbul court on Tuesday at the 11th hearing in Tunç’s trial in which he faces charges of insulting a former prime minister.
1- Hakkımdaki 2 yıllık hapis cezası kararıyla yetinmediler; düğmeye basılmış gibi 'örgüt propagandası’ ve 'örgüt üyeliği' iddialarıyla çok sayıda yeni soruşturma ve davalar açtılar, açmaya devam ediyorlar. Dahası hedef gösterdiler. pic.twitter.com/Oqs21BX7YN
— FERHAT TUNÇ (@ferhatttunc) March 4, 2019
The PKK, which has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s southeast since 1984, is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.
Thousands of people in Turkey are under investigation, and most of them are under the threat of imprisonment over alleged insults of President Erdoğan.
Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey, according to the controversial Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Whoever insults the president can face up to four years in prison, a sentence that can be increased if the crime was committed through the mass media.
The insult cases generally stem from social media posts shared by Erdoğan opponents. The Turkish police and judiciary perceive even the most minor criticism of the president or his government as an insult.