How the turkish queen of pop fell from grace

Turkish pop singer Sezen Aksu during a concert at the Rheingoldhalle in Mainz, Germany, Nov. 7, 2010

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Religious lawyers filed suit

No one may insult the prophet Adam. If someone does this, it is our duty to rip out his tongue.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President

You can’t hurt me, I already am. Pain wherever I look. I am the prey, you are the hunter. Shoot me. You can’t crush my tongue.
Sezen Aksu

And the artist promises on social media, "I’ve been writing songs for 47 years. I will go on."

In the mid-1970s, Aksu made her breakthrough. In her works she combines western sounds with classical Turkish folklore. Add to that original stage shows, a raw, strong voice and, above all, her song lyrics.

Pioneer of Turkish pop

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Commitment to Kurds, women’s rights and LGBT

The two courted each other. He attended one of her concerts, she supported him in 2010 election campaign when Erdogan wanted to change the constitution. Her songs became his unofficial campaign anthems.

The slogan at the time: "Yetmez ama evet" – "It’s not enough, but yes" – to the new constitution that ousted the military and paved the way for Erdogan to rule alone.

Regime critics consider her a traitor

Sociologist Dalaman says: "Sezen Aksu became a traitor – ten years ago she betrayed the Kemalists, now the conservatives."

While there are still notable supporters, most of them, like her, once campaigned for Erdogan. Those who were on the other side years ago are shaking their heads.

"See now who you supported?"

Like the Turkish writer Nihat Genc: "The army has been stripped of its power, lawyers and soldiers have been jailed. See now who you supported? There is no one left to defend your songs."

While the intellectuals argue, one should be pleased once again: Erdogan. The discussion about Sezen Aksu distracts from the home-grown economic crisis, reinforces his Muslim base, further intimidates critics and tears apart the opposition. The more Aksu resists and provokes, the better for Erdogan.

But there’s a song in their own music repertoire that calls for caution. It’s their most successful hit to date, "Hadi Bakalim". It says in part:

"Who is the greatest? Come on, it’s a very tough race. … You have to know yourself very well, control your tongue, otherwise the monsters will eat you up."

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