Turkish pro-government daily says protest rap songs are ‘PKK-Gülen joint production’

A Turkish pro-government newspaper has hit back after rappers released protest songs last week, saying the artists are criminals with links to outlawed organisations.

Şanışer and 17 other rappers released a 15-minute track on Friday taking aim at injustice and corruption in Turkey. Another track released on the same day by another famous artist, Ezhel, dealt with similar themes. Both tracks racked up millions of listeners within hours of being uploaded to the internet.

The Islamist daily Yeni Şafak took aim at the rappers on Sunday in a piece that suggested their tracks were a “joint production” between the Gülen religious movement and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), both of which are listed by Turkey as terrorist organisations.

The government blames the Gülen movement for the failed coup attempt in July 2016. The PKK has fought the Turkish state for Kurdish self-rule since launching an armed uprising in 1984.

“The 19 rappers prepared clips full of discourse from the Gülen movement, the PKK and marginal leftist groups and put them into circulation,” Yeni Şafak said.

The newspaper said the tracks had been supported by “Gülen and PKK media organs” and by foreign media outlets, including the BBC and German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle, which it said had helped carry them to the world agenda.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) have said nationwide anti-government protests in 2013 were part of a foreign plot against Turkey. Yeni Şafak described the rap songs as a follow-up to those protests by “so-called artists” with criminal records.

Several of the rappers involved in the production have been charged with encouraging drug use in their lyrics, which can be punished with a five-to-10-year prison sentence.

Sarp Palaur, or Şanışer, has a judicial record for insulting the president.



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