Ferhat Tunç, a popular Kurdish folk musician, is on trial in Turkey simply for sharing messages on social media and an album cover.
Ferhat is charged with spreading “propaganda of a terrorist organisation”, “insulting the President” and “publicly provoking hatred and hostility” in six cases for publishing songs online, an album cover, sharing news articles, tweeting personal opinions. Together, the charges amount to more than 20 years imprisonment.
Ferhat’s case is a testament to Turkey’s sweeping anti-terrorism laws, which are criticised for the overly broad definition of what comprises an offence under this law. Ferhat faces ongoing targeting from the Government because of his music, which features themes of injustice, war and Kurdish discrimination and has led to widespread popularity. His targeting for almost a decade began in 2012 when he was sentenced to two years in prison for “spreading terrorist propaganda”. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey violated Ferhat’s right to freedom of expression in 2015.
Freedom of artistic expression is a human right. Ferhat just wants to make music peacefully and speak his truth – this is not a crime. Email the Minister of Justice in Turkey and call on the authorities to drop all charges on Ferhat. Click here!