Free Ferhat Tunç! Solidarity with the brave revolutionaries of Turkey


The following essay appeared on  Frontlines of Revolutionary Struggle.

Note the fierce repression of this act: jailing a man for mentioning the names of beloved revolutionary figures, including İbrahim Kaypakkaya (who we have discussed previously here on Kasama).

Fear of truth, brutality in response to courage.



Turkey: Court Sentences Singer to Two Years in Prison for Speech

by AH Merdan

TURKEY | 27 – 06 – 2012 | A specially authorized court in the eastern province of Malatya sentenced Kurdish-Alevi singer Ferhat Tunç to two years in prison on terrorism related charges due to his invocation of the names of deceased Turkish leftists during a speech on May 1, 2011.


The Malatya specially authorized Third Court for Serious Crimes sentenced Kurdish-Alevi singer and composer Ferhat Tunç to two years behind bars on the charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” due to his invocation of the names of deceased Turkish leftists Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya during a speech he gave on May 1, 2011 in the eastern province of Dersim (Tunceli.)

“I greet you all in the revolutionary spirit of Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya,” Ferhat Tunç had said during the May 1st celebrations in Dersim in 2011.

The decision was unexpected and politically motivated, Tunç told bianet.

Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, founder of Turkey's Maoist movement

Lawyer Ercan Kanar, who represents Tunç in court, also said the court had convicted his client on the claim that he was making propaganda on behalf of the Maoist Communist Party (MKP) because of his reference to İbrahim Kaypakkaya during the speech.

“A worrying development for democracy and freedoms” Ferhat Tunç said his statements ought to have been regarded within the scope of the freedom of speech.

Such a verdict represents a worrying development for democracy and freedoms in Turkey right at a time when the status of specially authorized courts has come under question, he added.

“I was invited to the festivities in Dersim on May 1 last year as an independent deputy [candidate of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP.)] I was put on trial because I had said ‘I greet you all in the revolutionary spirit of Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya,’ during the speech I delivered there. Based on this statement, [authorities] then claimed I was making propaganda on behalf of the Maoist Communist Party (MKP) without being a member of it,” Tunç said.

“1980s Martial law revisited” The court’s verdict has smothered universal principles of law, according to lawyer Ercan Kanar.

The decision also demonstrated once more what a great setup and offensive the freedoms of thought and expression in Turkey have come under through specially authorized courts, he said.

“This verdict goes to show that Turkey is almost revisiting the state of emergency in the 1990s and the period of martial law in the 1980s,” Kanar said.

They were going to appeal the decision first at Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals, he said. If the Supreme Court of Appeals also ratifies the verdict, however, then the defendant party will bring the case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR,) lawyer Kanar added.

Kanar said they were certain the ECHR would convict Turkey as in previous cases, as the court had passed this verdict solely because of Tunç’s invocation İbrahim Kaypakkaya’s name. (Ekin Karaca/Bianet)

People in this conversation

  • Guest - Gary

    What an outrage, from a regime posturing as a moderate intermediary in the US/NATO campaign to bomb Iran and remould Libya, a longtime Israel ally just recently posing as indignant victim of Israeli aggression (the Mavi Marmara incident) and now campaigning to obtain NATO-led regime change in Syria. Those behind this must have calculated that such an egregious abuse of human rights (the right to merely invoke in passing the names of leaders who happen to be viewed as "terrorists" by the regime) will have no consequences for (say) the Turkish campaign to join the EU. And they may be right.

    Still, there might be things we could do to protect the life and ameliarate the situation of Ferhat Tunc. Have any comrades in Turkey/Kurdistan suggested actions, signature campaigns?

    Thanks to whoever posted the video. I wasn't aware of this singer. Beautiful, and love the saz accompaniment.

  • Guest - Mavkamo

    On the basis of re-shaping the Middle East, as one of the puppets of the US in the region, the Turkish government has undertaken a huge load of responsibility, not just serving as a military base for the imperialists, as it has done many times before, but the chance to shoulder the operation to act as "subcontractor imperialist".

    Therefore the fascist state intensified its periodical operations to a new level: non-stop war against any danger. This includes, the Kurdish national movement, revolutionaries, socialists and some "deeper state" elements who tapped their functionality out for the state - in order to replace a whole new deep state instrument - . Within this 3 year long intensified attack period, approximately 10,000 people were arrested, most of them were convicted and many more were taken into custody and gotten flagged. And Ferhat Tunç is one of them, who as far as I know is for now just sentenced, but not yet arrested nor convicted. It is highly probable that this very period will gradually increase its oppression over the organized masses. So to speak, the Turkish government find it urgent and important to get the "wrinkles" out of its way to launch an attack on Syria, in order to isolate Iran in the region as a future investment. (considering the missile shield in Malatya and the increasing tension). As you guys could see on the map above, Turkey could serve as great military base due to its geo-political condition for both the invasion of Syria and Iran.

    Gary, the agenda is quite busy for the revolutionaries who have not yet become POWs, so that holding a campaign for an individual would be less meaningful and less efficient than holding a campaign against the imprisonment of students, journalists, unionists and authors in general, or F-type prisons (solitary confinement cells). (over 2,000 students, - including university students, highschool students and elementary school students [shocking right!?, The press calls them "stone-throwing children"] -, over 100 journalists and 200 unionists are in prison.)

    I hope you find it useful.

  • Guest - Red Fly

    Wow. Saying people's names now constitutes terrorism in the eyes of a state the imperialists hold up as a model for freedom and democracy in the Islamic world? I

    The global 1% and their stooges are going far beyond the realms of standard hypocrisy and into a form of baroque self-parody.

    Certainly we've seen brazen hypocrisy on the part of the 1% before but it almost seems like they've become so decadent at this point that instead of trying to keep up appearances they're now just exulting in their own self-perceived omnipotence.

    Thanks for the gorgeous music.

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