Veteran singer under investigation for dedicating song to youths killed by Turkish authorities

Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into a renowned Turkish singer after an informant accused him of praising terrorist organisations, secularist daily Cumhuriyet reportedv on Tuesday.

Ahmet Alpay Nazikioğlu, known simply as Singer Alpay, was giving a concert to mark his 50th year working in Turkey’s music industry in Istanbul last March when he told the crowd he was dedicating his next song to “those beautiful people barbarously killed by the state”.

As he said this, pictures of Deniz Gezmiş, Yusuf Aslan, Hüseyin İnan and Berkin Elvan were shown on the stage.

Gezmiş, Aslan and İnan were left-wing revolutionaries executed by the Turkish government in 1972 for “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”.

The late Süleyman Demirel, the former president and prime minister who voted in favour of the execution as Justice Party chairman, later expressed regret for the executions as an unfortunate outcome of the Cold War.

Elvan was fatally wounded during the Gezi Park protests in the summer of 2013, a period during which police used violent tactics to suppress anti-government protests that had spread around the country.

Elvan, a boy aged 14 years old, was struck in the head by a police gas canister after leaving his family home to buy bread during the protests in June. He fell into a coma until his death 269 days later in March 2014.

Following Elvan’s injury, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the boy was a member of a terrorist organisation, pointing to the scarf he wore on his face and alleging that he had fired steel marbles at police using a slingshot.

Alpay rejected the accusation that dedicating songs to the slain youths counted as terror.

“When I made my dedication, the people in the audience gave a standing ovation. If it is terrorism to dedicate a song to Gezmiş and his friends and to Elvan, or to defend the Gezi resistance, then I’m a terrorist”, Alpay told Gazete Duvar journalist Anıl Mert Özsoy.

Alpay has previously released a song titled “Ethem’s Silent Scream” in honour of Ethem Sarısülük, who was killed by police gunfire during the Gezi protests.