Turkish pop star issues defiant response after being targeted by Erdoğan

Turkish pop icon Sezen Aksu on Saturday issued a defiant response to mounting criticism over lyrics from a years-old song, including from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, saying she would continue to write as the voice of Turkish people.

The statement from the 67-year-old prolific musician, published on her Facebook account, arrives a day after she was targeted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for allegedly insulting Islam over lyrics referencing the “ignorance” of Adam and Eve.

“You cannot kill me. I have a voice, a saz (instrument) and words,’’ Aksu said, quoting a new song she had written. 

“When I say 'me,' I am everyone. I have been writing for 47 years after all. And I will continue to write,’’ she said.

Erdoğan during a speech at an Istanbul mosque addressed Aksu without naming her, accusing the pop star of insulting sacred values through her lyrics in a 2017 song.

"No one may insult the prophet, Adam. Should anyone do this, it is our duty to rip out their tongue,” Erdoğan said during a speech at an Istanbul mosque, in an apparent reference to Aksu.

Aksu has faced a wave of criticism after releasing a new video for the song on New Year's Eve, which contains the lyrics "Give my regards to the ignorant Eve and Adam." 

The lyrics are apparent reference to the pair's expulsion from the heavens to Earth and have prompting ire from pro-government circles. Adam is the first prophet on Earth, according to Islam and is thus considered a holy figure along with his wife Eve. 

Erdoğan on Friday urged the crowd to "stand firm against’’ such attacks on sacred values and figures.

"As you all know, the issue is not me, it’s (our) country,’’ Aksu said on Saturday, as she thanked the outpour of support she had received from fellow artists and citizens alike. 

Opposition politicians, singers, actors and actresses across Turkey have expressed support for Aksu, posting messages over social media under the hashtag #SezenAksuYalnızDeğildir (Sezen Aksu isn't alone.)

"You cannot sadden me, for I am already very sad,’’ Aksu added, noting that she had been "observing various human states for years and transforming her observations into lyrics.’’ 

A group of Islamist protesters on Monday staged a rally outside Aksu’s mansion in Istanbul while a criminal complaint has also been filed against the singer on charges of “insulting religious values.’’

Aksu, who has sold over 40 million albums worldwide, is among Turkey’s most beloved musicians. 

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