Turkish singer-songwriter Canan Sagar on her songs of freedom

This February 2017 music video from Turkey is called Canan Sağar – Taş Atma Çocuk (Official Video).

By Felicity Collier from Britain:

Song of freedom for a tortured nation

Saturday 1st July 2017

Turkish singer-songwriter Canan Sagar tells Felicity Collier that socialism and music are her twin life forces

Canan Sagar has been taking part in artistic activities all her life. Recently, she dedicated one of her songs to teachers who are on hunger strike in her country in protest at being dismissed by the government after last year’s failed coup attempt.

A teacher of music herself, Sagar spends her time writing, reading, and researching, as well as listening to and performing music. It’s a sheer labour of love, as she funds and records her songs independently.

She describes songwriting as a random act that hits when the moment is right, favouring “human-specific subjects,” as well as social and political issues.

The first political song she wrote was Tas Atma Cocuk (Don’t Throw Stones Child), which is about children being imprisoned for launching stones at police or soldiers in the largely Kurdish areas of south-east Turkey — it features on her second album.

Yuksel Caddesi is the song she dedicates to teachers whom she says are still in prison continuing their hunger strike, which has now lasted over 100 days.

“My song reached them,” she says, “and now I am in contact with many of the resisters — among them Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca who are still in prison.

“The Turkish state is turning a blind eye and ignoring their critical situation.”

She tells me how the University College Union here in Britain sent a solidarity letter to the teachers calling for immediate action to be taken.

Asked how her music is received in Turkey, she tells me: “If an artist openly declares their views it’s difficult to reach a lot of people, as society mainly listens to popular music.

“There are some political songwriters in Turkey, the main group being Grup Yorum.”

Turkey is going through extremely hard times, she tells me. “The politics are ruining this great country that has embraced different cultures and religions for centuries.

“The people have been divided and a chaotic atmosphere prevails across the whole country.

“In the referendum the government has been proven to have manipulated the results — invalid votes were counted as Yes at the last minute — and it shamelessly stays in power.

“This government has lost a long time ago, but is still fighting to stay in power by cheating and fraud,” she says.

Sagar laments the fact that she doesn’t go back to Turkey often enough — she does so only to record her songs and videos.

“I left at a very young age,” she explains, “I have lived in England all my life. But every time I visit, the passion to spend part of my life there, at some point, grows.

“There is a strong fight against the system and it is felt all across the country and honourable people are resisting no matter how hard the government hits back. They are fighting till the end.”

You can find many of Canan Sagar’s songs on YouTube, or even better if you live in or near London, she is playing at the next fundraiser gig put on by the London Readers and Supporters Group on Saturday July 8, at The Constitution, 42 St Pancras Way, London NW1 OQT. Other performers will include the poet Tim Wells and soul singer Maddy Carty. Tickets are on sale here: mstar.link/constitution2. Or by phone (020) 8510-0815

3 thoughts on “Turkish singer-songwriter Canan Sagar on her songs of freedom

  1. Tuesday 11th July 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    STEVE SWEENEY reports on the largest opposition protest to Erdogan’s dictatorial rule yet

    WHAT started as a solitary walk for justice started by a Turkish opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) MP became one of the largest demonstrations seen in the country for generations.

    Sunday saw a reported two-and-a-half million people taking part in what was the biggest public display of opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he came to power.

    The “Adalet” (justice) march began as a response to the conviction of CHP MP Enis Berberoglu who was sentenced to 25 years in prison on charges of revealing state secrets.

    He is the first CHP politician to be jailed since the lifting of immunity from prosecution for MPs — a move which the party voted in favour of while declaring it unconstitutional.

    Berberoglu was accused of passing a video to the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper showing a lorry loaded with weapons which were allegedly being taken across the Syrian border to arm Isis fighters.

    Erdogan denied the allegations and said that Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dundar would pay a “heavy price” for undermining Turkey’s international reputation.

    Dundar — who is now living in exile in Germany — was sentenced to five years in jail in absentia along with head of the newspaper’s Ankara office Erdem Gul.

    CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu began the 265-mile walk from Turkey’s capital Ankara on June 15 before arriving in Maltepe in Istanbul 24 days later.

    Millions joined the rally, raising the slogans of “rights, law and justice,” as they filed in to Istanbul square.

    The Adalet march became a symbol of the struggle for justice in a country where Erdogan secured increased and unprecedented powers in April’s constitutional referendum.

    There has been an escalation in attacks on all forms of opposition to the brutal tyrant’s rule since the failed coup attempt of July 15 last year.

    Opposition MPs from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, are in prison and the country is the leading jailer of journalists in the world.

    Thousands of academics have been sacked and purged for signing a peace petition and over 100,000 government workers have been sacked.

    And just last week human rights campaigners — including the Turkish director of Amnesty International — were arrested in a hotel and charged with terrorism offences.

    Broad layers of Turkish society participated in the march and rally, from academics and trade unionists to disablility rights campaigners and environmentalists.

    Conferederation of Progressive Trade Unions (Disk) president Kani Beko said that they had supported the rally as 80 million people in Turkey are demanding justice.

    He said: “Millions of people today express their demands for justice here. We have close to 11 MPs and 161 journalists in prison.

    “We have civil servants who have been sacked due to government decrees under the state of emergency.

    “This march is a symbol of hope for people who seek justice.”

    But in a predictable response, Erdogan dismissed the protesters as terrorists.

    He said the the CHP had gone beyond political opposition and was “acting with terrorist organisations and the forces inciting them in our country.”

    It is something that I was accused of myself when travelling to the south-eastern city of Cizre where I was detained and grilled by anti-terror police.

    The march was also dedicated to teachers Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca, who were jailed last month and have been on hunger strike for over 70 days.

    Many of those who arrived in Istanbul were wearing T-shirts calling for justice for the pair, who were dismissed from their posts by a government decree.

    The demonstrators raised slogans for freedom and democracy as Kilicdaroglu told the rally that the demands for justice were “for the state of emergency to be lifted; for politics to be removed from courts, barracks, and the mosques; for journalists to be released; for universities to be freed; for the political power behind the coup attempt to revealed; for the democratic parliamentary system to be active again; for real equality between men and women to be achieved; for youth to be embraced rather than considered as potential criminals and for all anti-democratic practices to be ended.”

    He also listed a 10-point manifesto for justice. However any official platform will need to be discussed, debated and agreed by the broader forces involved in the struggle.

    “We want a Turkey where people’s thoughts are not silenced,” he said as he declared “the wall of fear has now been demolished,” vowing that he would “not stop the fight for justice until the demands listed in the manifesto are met.”

    The march represents a step forward in the struggle for democracy in Turkey and all eyes will be on the democratic forces in the country.

    The struggle cannot be left to the CHP alone.

    Those that participated in the march showed the broader forces involved and the extent of the struggle for justice in Turkey.

    A manifesto cannot be launched in a top-down manner from a platform. Any demands should be debated, discussed and agreed upon by the labour and progressive movement in Turkey.

    We saw glimmers of hope in the demonstrations that were sparked following the corruption of the rigged constitutional referendum when people took to the streets in anger.

    But there was no political leadership given to those protests from either the CHP or HDP opposition parties and the opportunity to build a mass opposition movement was squandered as they put their faith in naive and futile legal challenges.

    But the scale of the anti-Erdogan opposition in Turkey is clear as millions showed over the weekend.

    When the working class unite they are an unstoppable force and it is this unity, between Turkish and Kurdish people, that Erdogan fears.

    Sunday’s march showed the future belongs to the people of Turkey.

    Steve Sweeney is a reporter for the Morning Star.



  2. Pingback: 33,000 refugees, killed by ‘fortress Europe’, named | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Turkish government frees criminals, not political prisoners | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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