Duvar English

Sarp Palaur, a Turkish rapper better known with his stage name Şanışer, has said that his viral rap video named “Susamam” (I can’t stay silent) is not just about problems existing in Turkey, but all over the world.

“The song is not only about #Turkey – the problems are worldwide,” he said.

The rapper made the comments on Dec. 4 at one of the panels organized as part of the 10th Annual Turkey Conference held at the Middle East Institute (MEI) in Washington D.C. Şanışer was one of the panelists in the panel discussion named “Art in the time of authoritarianism.”

Asked by the moderator Lisel Hintz if art and music can create tangible, real change, Şanışer said: “The government certainly seems to think that it does, or else it wouldn’t go to such lengths to suppress it.”

Panelists, including Şanışer (R), pose for photographers after the panel on Dec. 4.

In September, Şanışer released the 15-minute track of “Susamam” which criticizes a number of problems persisting in Turkey, such as bad driving, animal neglect, pollution, domestic violence, inequality in education, the weakened freedom of expression etc. Including Şanışer himself, a total of 18 musicians rap about these important issues in the track, each drawing attention to one of them.

The video has been viewed millions of times on YouTube and caused a stir in the country. It was heavily criticized in Turkey’s right-leaning newspapers. 

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group Deputy Chair Hamza Dağ had criticized the track at the time, tweeting: “Art should not be the tool of provocation and political manipulation.”