Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:
Against the Turkish rapper Ezhel ten years imprisonment was demanded because he rapped about marihuana.
Ten years imprisonment. Turkish dictatorship-loving President Erdogan is emulating, even surpassing Spanish dictatorship-loving ex-Prime Minister Rajoy who had rapper Valtónyc convicted to 3,5 years in prison for criticizing the king.
The rapper, whose real name is Ömer Sercan Ipekçioglu, encourages drug use according to the Turkish authorities.
The 28-year-old rapper was arrested in Istanbul last month. The public prosecutor will provide a photograph that has been placed on social media as proof. On it, the rapper can be seen with a cannabis plant. Also the video below of his song Geceler, in which he raps that light under the influence of marijuana looks fiercer, was a pretext for the rapper be arrested.
This Turkish music video is called Ezhel – Geceler (Official Video) 2018.
“In Turkey Ezhel is a big name”, says NOS correspondent Melvyn Ingleby to NOS Radio 1 News. “His videos are viewed millions of times.”
According to Ingleby, he was not arrested because of drugs, but for the comments that the rapper made on the government. “He has been making music about drugs for years, as many other Turkish rappers do.” Ezhel also has many political texts in his music. “Eg, he rapped that there is no future in Turkey, that the newspapers are full of lies and that if someone writes the truth, then that person wil go to jail.”
If the rapper is found guilty, then he can get a prison sentence of five to ten years. Amnesty International calls for the release of Ezhel. On Twitter, the human rights organization writes that the arrest of the rapper is a violation of the freedom of expression.
In the Netherlands the rapper is popular among Turkish and Moroccan youths. In April, Ezhel gave his first performance in the Netherlands in TivoliVredenburg. The hashtag #FreeEzhel is used on social media to draw attention to Ezhel. There is also an online petition, which has now been signed more than 125,000 times.