Kurdish pop-star and former host of her own show on TRT6, Rojîn filed a criminal complaint against Akşam newspaper columnist Serdar Turgut, handing her petition to the Bakırköy Courthouse on 27 October.
Turgut, former editor-in-chief of Akşam, published a column on 24 October entitled ‘I regret not being a PKK terrorist’ in which he said he wanted to make Rojîn his ‘sex slave.’
What he said exactly was:
“From what I understand of Öcalan’s statements, there are occasional group sex parties in the mountains. I would definitely have participated in those with a militant consciousness. I haven’t yet seen a woman PKK member that I like, but that’s OK; if I couldn’t have found one there, I would’ve founded a cell, raided the city, abducted Rojîn and taken her to the mountains. What’s more, I might even have proposed to her. Think about it, for years I would enjoy a life in the mountains; I would live with Rojîn, who I would make my sex slave, and go to the city when I get sick of the woman’s chatter to kill some editors-in-chief.”
The column was supposed to be a criticism of the recent arrival of a PKK group and Turgut couldn’t understand why Rojîn didn’t see the humour.
If Turgut’s attempt at humour failed, his attempt at an apology only made it worse. He said in his column yesterday (29
October), which was called ‘I thought Rojîn was smart,’ ‘Looking at her speeches and television performances, I thought Rojîn was a smart woman. Instead of laughing, she chose to be a victim.’ She chose to be a victim?
But Rojîn does not want an apology. She wants his ‘insult to be punished on behalf of all women.’ She has demanded in her complaint to prosecute Turgut under charges of ‘sexual harassment’ and ‘insult via the media.’ She also said she would pursue this until the end as an example in Turkey. Saying that what Turgut wrote had nothing to do with humour but was rather racism and sexism. She asks ‘Is the reason for this indifference that I am a Kurd and a women?’
Women’s organisations such as Med-iz plan to petition a court to join the case against Turgut. Med-iz works against sexism in the media.
‘There is nothing to say to Turgut, but we will ask the court to allow us to take part [in the case] since his article degrades all women in Turkey, and especially Kurdish women,’ said Melek Özman from Med-iz.
Kerem Altıparmak, who is affiliated with the Ankara University Human Rights Research Centre, also underlined that Turgut’s article cannot be considered merely a personal conflict since the article targets women who belong to an ethnic group.
‘From the point of view of freedom of expression, the question that needs to be asked is, does this article justify the kidnapping of a Kurdish woman? The article suggests that any Kurdish woman, due to her ethnicity, is linked to the PKK and that kidnapping her for sexual purposes would be justified. If you considered the present situation in Turkey, the danger is immediate,’ Altıparmak told Today’s Zaman.
In part of a written statement Rojîn stated that ‘Turgut used my name for this ugly aim with the same ugliness. What gives him the audacity to use these monstrous, salivating and macho phrases like ‘Abducting to the mountains’ and ‘making a sex slave’?’ she wrote. ‘Is it because I am a Kurd even more than I am a woman?’
If Rojîn’s claim is accepted, Turgut could face between 6 months and 4 years imprisonment.
Çakir, Bawer. Artist Rojîn Sues Journalist Turgut for “Sexual Harassment”. Istanbul – BİA News Center, 29 October 2009.
Karabat, Ayşe. Women’s organizations to take columnist Turgut to court. Today’s Zaman, 29 October 2009.
Turgut apologizes to Rojîn in column. Today’s Zaman, 30 October 2009.