Pro-Kurdish HDP’s referendum song banned for ‘inciting hatred’

Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP) fears the reform will fuel more authoritarianism in Turkey.

The Şırnak Governor’s Office has announced that the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) official referendum campaign song, “Bejin Na‘’ (Say No), has been banned in Şırnak for “inciting hatred and hostility among the people.”

According to a circular jointly issued by Şırnak Governor Ali İhsan Su and Şırnak Police Chief Ömer Ulusoy, the HDP’s referendum song violates 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 that may present a clear and imminent danger in terms of public safety, shall be sentenced to imprisonment of from one to three years.”

The 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 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.

The plans foresee presidential and general elections in 2019, with a maximum of two five-year terms. ( March 30, 2017

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