Murda can get out of Turkey again, but fear of apprehension ‘reigns with all’

Being arrested in Turkey for writing rap texts, twitter messages or columns. It is the โ€œhorror scenarioโ€ of many Turkish Dutch people working in the creative industry, writes RTL columnist Yesim Candan about Dutch rapper Murda. It was picked up at the airport in Istanbul early this week, according to his management because he raps about drugs and sex in his songs.

Murda, stage name of ร–nder Dogan, has now received permission to leave Turkey and return home. But his arrest confirms a fear that many Turkish-Dutch colleagues in the creative sector feel, according to Candan. She calls Murdas arrest a โ€œdangerous signalโ€. โ€œAs long as you have Turkish roots, youre a target in Turkey. That fear prevails with everyone in the field.โ€

Dutch passport

In any case, a Dutch passport does not seem to provide protection. Candan: โ€œA lot of colleagues thought: we need to hand in our Turkish passport, because then it will be safer. But now it turns out that doesnt matter. Youre not saved with a purely Dutch passport.โ€


fact that Murda, who according to his management has a Dutch passport, was arrested in Turkey, also did not see the Rotterdam rapper Salih Akbulut of rap duo Hns coming. โ€œIt has been happening for a long time that journalists are being arrested because they are critical of the Turkish government. I also know that Turkish artists have already been in jail for their rap lyrics.โ€ Akbulut refers to rapper Burry Soprano, who was busted for his song Mary Jane, which refers to a weed strain.

On Murdas arrest, Akbulut continues to say: โ€œThat feels like a kind of next step from the Turkish government. Because Murda doesnt live in Turkey. He releases his music from the Netherlands. Then its a bit weird that hell get busted there. Nobody understands either; fellow rappers, but also listeners and fans. They dont understand anything about it.โ€

Akbulut himself says he doesnt feel a fear of being arrested in Turkey. Thats primarily because his lyrics arent about drugs or sex. A โ€œpersonal choice,โ€ Akbulut says. โ€œBut that has nothing to do with how they look at it in Turkey. That doesnt stop me from not saying certain things in my music either. I think every artist has the right to artistic freedom.โ€

โ€œIs it smart to share this?โ€

Kurdish-Dutch Murat Memis, group chairman of the SP in Eindhoven knows that there is a risk of being arrested in Turkey due to personal statements. Memis was arrested two years ago when he was on holiday in Turkey, on charges of sympathizing with Kurdish terror organization PKK. He was acquitted a few months later.

With such detentions, the Turkish government wants to cause fear, according to Memis. โ€œThe goal is to kill people,โ€ he says. โ€œI hear it in my area: Is it smart to share this or that? Because I still want to be able to see my uncle or aunt.โ€ Memis is not going back to Turkey for the time being; that still feels โ€œtoo unsafeโ€.

That is why, according to Memis, it is all the more important for people to be heard. โ€œIf you love Turkey, and you believe in democracy, then now is the time to speak out and say, its just not going. Because eventually its going to hit everyone. It was the Kurds first, then the left-wing Turkish community. And now its Murda, who is not speaking out about anything ideologically.โ€

It stays silent

Columnist Yesim Candan believes that people in the Netherlands are not enough to hear about them now. โ€œA Dutchman has been arrested in Turkey, and it remains quiet. Nobody does what, no one speaks out, neither does the Turkish community, it stays quiet.โ€

That silence, according to her, has to do with the loyalty that people feel. โ€œThe Turkish community is quiet, I think, because they dont want to lose that climate. The majority of Turks support the Turkish government.โ€


her opinion, Murdas background also plays a role. โ€œWhen it came to Jan Smit, everyone would have already jumped into the bres, Im sure. But now it doesnt happen because he has Turkish roots. I hate that such a distinction is made. That worries me, and its not a safe feeling.โ€

Murat Memis also found it quiet after Murdas arrest. โ€œA large majority are just scared,โ€ he says. However, he thinks there is a tilt. โ€œPeople show themselves, like Yesim. That gives me hope that people keep fighting.โ€