Turkish rapper detained after releasing video mocking Erdoğan’s son
Turkish rapper Bulut Alpman, known as Rota, has been detained by the police the day after he released a video for a song that mocked Bilal Erdoğan, the son of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Footage on social media purportedly showed police arriving at the rapper’s house early on Sunday morning, and banging on the door and threatening to break it down.
In a clip online, the video for the song “Ağla” (Cry) featured someone wearing a mask with the face of Erdoğan’s son Bilal posing in front of the Istanbul tax office.
Rota'nın dün yayınlanan şarkısının ardından bu gece evini polis bastı | Rap şarkıcısı Rota'nın dün klibi yayınlanan ve iktidarı eleştiren "Ağla" isimli şarkısının ardından bugün evine polis baskını düzenlendi. Rota gözaltına alındı. #FreeRota pic.twitter.com/cv090YC6Uj— Politik Baykuş (@politikbaykus) May 31, 2020
The lyrics included a line that said: “I will explain to all you kids as I explain it to Bilal.”
The lyric is likely a reference to a 2013 corruption scandal in which wiretapped audio was leaked which purportedly recorded Erdoğan repeatedly asking Bilal to get rid of millions of dollars of money stashed in a property, while Bilal struggled to understand his father’s instructions. Erdoğan dismissed the allegation as fabricated.
The term "like I explain it to Bilal" could suggest a very simple way of explaining something that even Bilal could understand.
The music journalist Barış Akpolat shared Rota’s new video on Twitter with the message:
“It can't be a crime to say 'like I explain it to Bilal’. Release Rota. Writing lyrics is not a crime. #FreeRota”
Alpman was reportedly also arrested in March 2019 over his song “Puppet”.
He is not the only Turkish rapper to find himself in trouble with the law recently. The Turkish superstar Ezhel has faced at least six different criminal charges over the past two years - which many believe are politically motivated - including “encouraging drug use” and “encouraging prostitution”.
Several other Turkish rappers have also been charged with drug-related charges due to references in their lyrics in the past few years.