Istanbul court extends Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç's arrest warrant to obtain his defense

The trial of Kurdish singer Ferhat Tunç continued in Istanbul on Dec. 4. The court extended the arrest warrant against the artist so as to obtain his defense. Tunç faces seven lawsuits in total, three of which have been launched on charges of "insulting the president."

Duvar English

An Istanbul court on Dec. 4 extended an arrest warrant against prominent Kurdish folk singer Ferhat Tunç so as to obtain the artist's defense in a case concerning charges of “insulting the president.” In addition, a letter will be sent to the artist's address in Germany to obtain his defense.

In March, Tunç had announced on Twitter that he was leaving Turkey, saying that the Turkish authorities had pointed him “as a target” due to several lawsuits launched against him.

Tunç is being tried in a total of seven cases, including three that have been initiated on charges of “insulting the president.” Other charges against the singer are “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” and "inciting people into hatred and animosity." Together, the charges of all seven chases amount to more than 20 years of imprisonment.

One of the cases concerns Tunç's Twitter social media posts in 2016 allegedly “insulting the president.” The seventh hearing of the case took place at Büyükçekmece 14th Criminal Court of First Instance on Dec. 4. The singer was represented by his lawyer Damla Koç.

The court decided to keep the arrest warrant against Tunç intact and said that a letter will be sent to his address, through the Justice Ministry, to obtain his defense. The next hearing will take place on Feb. 12, 2020.

Tunç: I have not and will not betray my artisan identity, personal history, humanity

Tunç held a press meeting at the premises of the Federation of Alevi Unions in the German city of Köln regarding the cases launched against him. “As an artist who left behind 40 years in his music life, I have things to tell to the Turkish- and world public regarding what I have gone through,” Tunç said on Dec. 4.

“Up to now, I have lived for the people's joy and sorrows and kept my artisanship in this direction; they wanted to me to betray my artisan identity, my own personal history and my humanity; but I have not and will not, and as you see, I am in exile,” he said.

“My [social media] posts are analyzed and new cases are being produced. In these cases, my artistic activities are said to 'incite hatred and animosity.' In another case, 20 years of imprisonment is sought on the charges of 'outlawed group membership.' There is also a case in which I was sentenced to two years for praising coalition powers fighting against ISIS and Kurdish fighters, and it is based on the charge of 'undertaking terror organization propaganda.' There are countless arrest warrants against me. Because of these cases, I had to leave the country [Turkey],” he said.

“For the last eight months, I have been in exile, away from my loved ones and the most important away from Dersim, which is the city of the values that I have. If I had stayed in Turkey, I would have spent years in jail. Because of this threat, I left my whole life behind and despite not wanting to do so at all, I am away from my country,” Tunç said on Dec. 4.