ISTANBUL - TDN with wire dispatches
With her bee-stung lips and long, permed black hair, Bülent Ersoy, a transsexual and one of Turkey's most popular singers, is no stranger to controversy, but she now finds herself on trial for trying to turn the public against the country's military, said an article Thursday in a British daily.
The charges stem from remarks Ersoy made earlier this year on the hugely popular television show Popstar Alaturka, calling into question Turkey's deeply ingrained militarism, The Independent reported. Ersoy faces more than two years in prison for the remark that if she had children, she would not send them to the army to fight Kurdish terrorists. "I am not a mother, nor ever will be, but I would not bury my child for someone else's war," Ersoy said.
"May God give me a son so that I can send him off to our glorious army," another member of the show quickly countered, adding a nationalistic phrase repeated at every military funeral: "Martyrs never die. The fatherland cannot be divided." But Ersoy was not put off. "Always the same cliched phrases," she retorted. "Children go, bitter tears, funerals... and afterwards, these cliched phrases."
Of the 40,000 people who have died since 1984 in the war between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and the Turkish state, roughly 5,000 have been soldiers.
Ersoy, who underwent a sex-change operation in 1981 to become a woman, could face a long jail term for her anti-military remarks. She is one of Turkey's best-loved singers, but was barred from appearing on stage during the 1980s following a military coup by generals who disapproved of her. Ersoy did not show up for her court date, saying she had to attend a concert, so the trial has been postponed until September, when she will be obliged to attend.