A court in Turkey’s Mersin province has banned pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) official referendum campaign song “Bejin Na‘’ (Say No) nationwide for “inciting hatred and hostility among people”.
Diken news portal reported on Tuesday that according to a ruling by the Mersin 2nd Penal Court of Peace, HDP’s referendum song violated the article 216 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), according to which whoever “openly incites sections of the population to enmity or hatred towards another group on the basis of social class, race, religion, or sectarian or regional difference, in a manner which may present a clear and imminent danger in terms of public safety, shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from one to three years.”
Even though this is the first time a court ruled for the prohibition, the same song has previously been subject to prohibition obstructions. The Şırnak Governor’s Office announced last week that the “Bejin Na‘’ has been banned across Şırnak province for “inciting hatred and hostility among people”.
HDP’s campaign song was composed by Kurdish singer Şeyda Perinçek and widely used by Kurdish politicians while campaigning to persuade people to vote “no” in a critical referendum on April 16 that will introduce an executive presidency in the country if approved.
Turkey will hold a referendum on the reform package on April 16. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), backed by the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), pushed through the legislation that President Erdoğan says will bring the strong leadership needed to prevent a return of the fragile coalition governments of the past.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) fear the reform will fuel authoritarianism.
The reform will enable Erdoğan to appoint and dismiss government ministers, take back the leadership of the ruling party and govern until 2029.