Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted Sezen Aksu, one of Turkey’s most influential musicians after a social media campaign launched against her, but yesterday, 26 January, he withdrew from his statements by saying ” I was not addressing Sezen Aksu personally”
Aksu released a song in 2017 with the lyrics that read:
“We’re riding on an omen / We’re travelling to doomsday / Greet the ignorant / Adam and Eve”
5 years later, a smear campaign was launched on social media against her for mentioning Adam and Eve in the song. Erdoğan straight away targeted Aksu for the way she had used Adam and Eve in the lyrics, which he claimed was defiling.
“Nobody can defile the venerable Adam,” he said at a mosque last week. “It is our duty to cut out the tongues of the defilers when it becomes necessary. Nobody can defile our mother Eve. It is our duty to show those defilers their place.”
Aksu being targeted like this created a widespread public reaction in Turkey and a group of artists also released a statement in a declaration of support for Sezen Aksu and against Erdoğan’s targeting of freedom of expression.
Yesterday, on a TV broadcast, Erdoğan retreated from his statements regarding Sezen Aksu.
“I was not addressing Sezen Aksu in person. I uttered the expression ‘cutting out the tongues’ as a stance on [those] against the sacreds.” he said.
Defining Sezen Aksu as an important name in Turkish music, President Erdoğan also stated the following:
“On the other hand, as the president of Turkey, I do not let anyone speak ill of the religious values, I mean, the sacred beliefs of our people, regardless of their beliefs.”