The song by one of the most popular and iconic Turkish singers, Sezen Aksu, and also Aksu herself were recently targeted in a social media smearing campaign carried out by individuals known for their avid support of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The song is called ‘Şahane Bir Şey Yaşamak’ (‘Living is a Wonderful Thing’), released in 2017 by Aksu, and it has been targeted for its words, “Binmişiz bir alamete / Gidiyoruz kıyamete. / Selam söyleyin o cahil / Havva ile Adem’e” (‘We’re riding on an omen / We’re travelling to doomsday / Greet the ignorant / Adam and Eve’).
Murat Şahin, the chair of a certain ‘National Perpetuity Movement’, who is known to be close to Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), led the campaign and insulted Sezen Aksu, who is known to her adoring public as ‘Tiny Sparrow’, calling her ‘Tiny Ignorant’, and announced that there would be a protest outside her home on Monday, saying “We will be at your door at 8.30pm”.
Large numbers of artists and social media users have stood up in defence Sezen Aksu with the hashtags, #sezenaksu and #sezenaksuyalnızdeğildir (‘Sezen Aksu is not alone’) while Zülfü Livaneli, a distinguished Turkish composer, performer and author, denounced those running the lynch campaign against Aksu. On his Twitter account, Livaneli said:
“A lynch campaign has been launched against Sezen Aksu for the lyrics of her song. Those who have distorted these words have no connection whatsoever with art, words or culture. They are commenting after looking at the vast ocean of art through the tiny portholes of politics.
“The word cahil [ignorant] is used by people in our poetry to mean inexperienced youth, those who have not seen the world. Just as in the song of Neşet Ertaş, “Cahildim dünyanın rengine kandım” (‘I was ignorant, I was fooled by the colours of the world’). Also, as in one of the folk songs, “Ergen kız, cahil oğlan / İnkardan gelinir mi” (‘Teenage girl, ignorant boy / Can it be denied?’)
“To interpret Sezen’s words, which attribute the error leading to Adam and Eve being thrown out of heaven to their youth and lack of awareness, as insulting, is a primitive compulsion. And an unjust attack of this nature on Sezen Aksu, who takes our people to her heart, diminishes the attacker, and makes Sezen still greater.”
Aksu has also been targeted by some for the colours of the dress she wore, red, yellow and green, the colours of the Kurdistan flag. A social media user asked, “Insulting religious values, giving messages with colours. What’s next?”
A United States concert of Aksu had earlier been cancelled due to threats she got for the red, yellow and green colours of her dress.