Tunç was charged with “terrorism propaganda” on the basis of his social media posts

 

An Istanbul court on 25 September sentenced musician and human rights activist Ferhat Tunç to 1 year 11 months and 12 days in jail for “terrorism propaganda” on the basis of his social media posts.

In its verdict announced at the end of the final hearing in the case, the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court also ruled that the verdict will be sent to four courts of first instance which previously convicted Tunç in separate cases but deferred sentences.

Presenting his final defense statement ahead of the verdict, Tunç defended his social media posts that praised Syrian Kurdish armed groups YPG and YPJ which battled ISIS in northern Syria, saying “I do not feel remorse because I have praised those fighting against the most barbaric organization in the world.”

In defense of another tweet in which he referred to the jailed leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, as “seen by millions as their leader,” Tunç questioned why the state sanctioned secret talks with Öcalan during a settlement process launched to resolve the Kurdish issue if there were doubts on his “leadership.”

Tunç also said artists could not be expected to fall in line with a certain ideology and should not be on trial for expressions that reflects “the society’s conscience.”

“Those who are bent on putting artists on trial may have just one purpose: To silence artists and intellectuals,” Tunç said.

Criticizing the indictment as “devoid of principles of objective law and intended solely to punish,” Tunç rejected the accusations directed by the prosecutor.