Erdoğan threatens legendary singer Sezen Aksu: 'It is our duty to cut those tongues'

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has targeted legendary singer Sezen Aksu over one of her songs, saying that it is his "duty to cut those tongues who defame Adam and Eve." Meanwhile, Turkey's media watchdog RTÜK has been reportedly calling television and radio channels and telling them not to air Aksu's song.

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Turkey's Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has been reportedly calling television and radio channels throughout the country to bar them from playing Sezen Aksu’s song, “It is a wonderful thing to live.” The song, which calls Adam and Eve “ignorant,” is accused of going against “moral values.”

“Hello, say hello to that ignorant Eve and Adam,” Aksu sings in the song.

RTÜK Deputy Chairman İbrahim Uslu has been calling all channels that air music and warning them not to play the song, daily Birgün reported. He reportedly told station officials that they could face heavy sanctions and fines if they play the song. 

Uslu reportedly said this applied to all songs that are “insulting to moral values.” This clause of the Turkish criminal code has been used widely by the Justice and Development Party (AKP)-led Turkish government to clamp down on films, television, and music they say contradicts Islamic principles. It has also been widely used to silence dissent.

Uslu framed the meetings as “warnings” so as to prevent “damage” to the channels. 

“We never gave an order saying 'Don't broadcast Sezen Aksu', anyway, we don't have that legal authority,” he said. “The song was examined, we warned the organizations to act cautiously so that they do not become victims.”

Erdoğan also targets Aksu over her song 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also targeted the legendary singer, without explicitly mentioning her name. “No one can defame our Prophet Adam. It is our duty to cut those tongues. No one's tongue can say those words to our mother Eve,” Erdoğan said after Friday praying at Grand Çamlıca Mosque in Istanbul on Jan. 21.

Aksu has been this week targeted by Islamist groups and pro-government organizations for the song, released in 2017, who say it is immoral. Opposition figures like Istanbul mayor Ekrem İmamoğu as well as several artists have thrown their support behind the singer.