Turkish singer questioned over video commemorating slain teen

GMT 18:58 2015 Wednesday ,29 April

Arab Today, arab today Turkish singer questioned over video commemorating slain teen

Protestors hold placards displaying a portrait of Berkin Elvan
Istanbul - AFP

One of Turkey's most prominent pop singers has been questioned over a video clip commemorating a teenager whose 2013 death in anti-government demonstrations mobilised opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reports said Wednesday.

Sevval Sam, known for her activism, was questioned by Istanbul prosecutors Tuesday as part of an investigation launched last week into almost a dozen artists who appeared in the video, Milliyet daily reported.

She was accused of "inciting people to commit a crime" for taking part in the video entitled "For Justice and For Berkin", which was released ahead of the anniversary of Berkin Elvan's death in March.

The black-and-white video opens with a little girl playing hide-and-seek and asking: "Where is Berkin Elvan?"

The artists then take turns to say things such as "I'm Berkin Elvan," "Can you sleep comfortably?" and "How can you laugh or smile?".

When her turn comes, Sam says: "I'm Berkin Elvan. Is your mind at peace? Why are you hiding my killer?"

The video shows the girl holding a piece of bread -- an allusion to Elvan, who became caught up in the protests after going out to buy bread.
According to Milliyet, Sam denied the accusations and told the prosecutors: "I took part in the video so that no child dies. I had no intention to provoke people."

Sam is one of Turkey's most celebrated singers, known for fusing traditional music styles with modern pop.

Elvan spent 269 days in a coma after being hit in the head by a tear gas canister fired by police during protests that swept Istanbul in May-June 2013. He died on March 11, 2014, aged 15.

His parents and supporters have expressed anger at the fact that no police officer has been brought to trial over his death, accusing the authorities of shielding the perpetrator.

The video features a voice recording of Erdogan telling a crowd of supporters at the height of the unrest: "It was me who ordered the police to shoot (the protesters)."


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