Turkish court sentences singer to 12 months in prison for allegedly insulting Erdoğan in lyrics

Composer Erdal Güney was sentenced by a Turkish court to nearly 12 months in prison for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a 2014 single.

Güney was given 11 months and 20 days in prison for allegedly insulting the President Erdoğan in his song, titled Babacığım (Daddy), reporeted by Birgun daily on May 29. His conviction was suspended on a 5-year probation.

The singer was also sentenced to TL 1860 ($415) for allegedly insulting the President Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan in the same song.

The humorous song was made in reference to Dec. 17/25, 2an013 corruption and bribery scandals that implicated Erdoğan’s son and several then-cabinet ministers.

The lyrics of the song are as follows:

“Daddy, daddy! Teach me maths.

What does ‘zeroing’ mean? Introduce it to me.

The truth will be uncovered one day.

The only passion of my father is the shoeboxes.

I am not good at geometry that I can’t even trim the beard like a round.

Parallels are so confusing that I can’t handle the tape recordings.

Pro-gov’t media are ‘in the pool,’ laundering the dirt.

Don’t worry, daddy! We are rubbing the dirt from the clothes.

Four fingers imply the four ministers. The thumb is…hush!

Our business is all about looting, in the service sector and so on.

Slackers, pranksters…Their true colours are not shown.

Come over to the balcony, daddy! Scenery is spectacular.

‘Pardon me, daddy’?”

Zeroing allegedly refers to a 2013 tape recording in which then-Prime Minister Erdoğan and his son Bilal Erdoğan were purportedly heard discussing how to reduce the millions of dollars and euros stocked at their and relatives’ places to “zero” by distributing them among several businessmen, just after PM Erdoğan heard about the investigation.

At one point, the voice supposedly of Bilal Erdoğan says some 30 million euros ($40 million) remain to be disposed of. Meanwhile, several people including a public banker and a pro-government businessman were busted with large sums of money in shoeboxes at their homes.

The Dec. 17/25, 2013 corruption investigation incriminated Cabinet ministers and the family members of Turkey’s President Erdoğan. Turkish prosecutors accused Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab and high-ranking Turkish officials of involvement in facilitating Iranian money transfers via gold smuggling.

After Erdoğan cast the case as a coup attempt to overthrow the government orchestrated by his political enemies, several prosecutors were removed from the case, police were reassigned and the investigation in Turkey against Zarrab was dropped. All police chiefs and officers involved were jailed in 2014. Last year the wives of most of these police officers were also jailed over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Zarrab testified in New York federal court in early December that he had bribed Turkey’s former economy minister, Mehmet Zafer Çağlayan, in a billion-dollar scheme to smuggle gold for oil in violation of US sanctions on Iran. Zarrab also said that Turkey’s then-Prime Minister Erdoğan personally authorized the involvement of Turkish banks in the scheme.

Zarrab also said he made payments to secure his release in February 2014 and that those payments were partly bribes. The Turkish government seized the assets of Zarrab and his relatives following his testimony in the US court.

Hüseyin Korkmaz in the New York trial of Halkbank official Hakan Atilla called Erdoğan the “No. 1” target in a group that also included Çağlayan, and Süleyman Aslan, a former chief executive at Halkbank, a large Turkish state-owned bank that was central to the sanction-busting scheme.

Police notes of the Dec. 17 operations show that Zarrab personally talked with Erdoğan on April 13, 2013 and asked for an official police guard. Erdoğan and his Cabinet approved it immediately.

A phone call and a video in the Dec. 17 file show that Zarrab in July 2013 sent an unspecified amount of money to the Service for Youth and Education Foundation of Turkey (TÜRGEV), run by Bilal Erdoğan, Erdoğan’s son. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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