The father of imprisoned Kurdish singer Nûdem Durak called on the international campaign to free his daughter to redouble their efforts as the Turkish state continues to ignore demands for her freedom, seven years after she was jailed for singing in Kurdish.
High-profile names including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, actors John Cusack and Mark Ruffalo, feminist activist and writer Angela Davis and US linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky have joined the campaign for Durak’s release, but the 34-year-old faces at least another decade in prison after being sentenced on anti-terror charges.
Her father, Süleyman Durak, spoke to Mesopotamia Agency about the campaign for his daughter and how her health is failing after seven years in a prison far from her home, and how he has also found it hard to travel such a distance to visit her due to his own health issues.
Living in Şırnak, (south east Turkey) he said his longing to see his daughter increased with each passing day, and demanded that his daughter be released or transferred to a nearby prison.
And, he said, the long, arbitrary imprisonment and lack of adequate healthcare may have left his daughter unable to sing even if she is released.
“Nûdem is sick. She suffers from symptoms related to her goitre and osteoporosis.” He said.
Exiled Turkish writer Aslı Erdoğan also sent a recent message of support for the imprisoned Kurdish singer, calling her imprisonment “cruel and a tyrannical policy of repression” by the Turkish state.
In April 2015, Nûdem Durak was sentenced to ten-and-a-half years in prison on a charge of “promoting propaganda”, for performing songs in her native Kurdish language.
In July 2016, with no additional charges or convictions, her sentence was increased to 19 years. She is presently held in Bayburt M-Type Women’s Closed Prison in the northeast of Turkey.
Süleyman Durak pointed to the international campaign that has highlighted his daughter’s plight, but said that Turkey was not listening, and requested more support saying that “every artist with a conscience should protect and support Nûdem.”
“Even Europe heard her voice, but Turkey did not,” he said.
Directing his call to all of Nudem’s friends and supporters, he asked them to continue with their efforts.
“She was punished so much simply for singing a Kurdish song. Nûdem did not deserve such punishment,” he said.