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Singer and Columnist Atilla Taş: “I was arrested by a judge like you”

Atilla Taş’s statement: I affiliated with just one organization in my life and I have been proud of it

The former Istanbul 1st Criminal Magistrate İbrahim Lorasdağı who arrested the musician Atilla Taş, the journalists Murat Aksoy, Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu and Mutlu Çölgeçen on charges of “not being a member of FETO, and acting on behalf of the organization”, took over also the trial in the Istanbul 25th High Criminal Court and denied the appeal of the refusal-of-judge, reported Canan Coşkun, Monday from Turkish daily Cumhuriyet.

Journalists who were arrested after the coup attempt in July and who were working for the media organizations which allegedly were close to the Fetullah Gulen community appeared before the judge after 8 months on charges of membership of the organization, citing their news and Twitter sharings. The hearing on Tuesday in the Istanbul 25th High Criminal Court was attended by one unarrested and 26 arrested suspects, musician Atilla Taş, journalist Murat Aksoy also between them. CHP deputies Şafak Pavey, Selina Doğan, Mahmut Tanal, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, Reporters Without Borders Turkey Representative Erol Önderoğlu and a large number of journalists from abroad followed the hearing. At the beginning of the trial, the gendarmes stood up to prevent suspects’ families from seeing their relatives. “I used to be a singer, now I’m arrested for journalism,” replied Atilla Taş, when he was asked about his job during identification.

“I was arrested by a judge like you”

The defending musician Atilla Taş started by making a sound experiment with the microphone. “I have never used ByLock, and Eagle. I heard their names first time by this case. I have never eaten maklube, I do not have an account in Bank Asia. I did not stay in their hostels. I am Muslim but I do not pray.” Taş said, and made an irony about the chief justice İbrahim Lorasdağı who had arrested him by saying “I was arrested by a judge like you.” Asking “We are going through extraordinary periods, but does this require extraordinary injustices?” Taş, said “I do not have the confidence least of all that the law works well. And when I saw you my last hope about the law exhausted.”

“I affiliated with just one organization in my life and I am proud of it”

Remembering that he affiliated with only one organization in his life, Taş said, “It is CHP (Republican People’s Party). And I am proud of it. I did military service in the Southeast. I got hurt on my leg. My friends were martyred. I have been living with bullets in my leg for 25 years, but I am called a terrorist. It makes my blood boil.” Expressing that “I’ve thirsted for law and justice so much that I feel myself in (Franz) Kafka’s novel named Dava (The Process),” Taş said about his Twitter sharings, “Had I known that I lived in a Banana Republic, I would not write those tweets. I did not know that criticizing the government was a crime of terrorism.” Stating that the prosecutor is convinced that he is a member of a terrorist organization by reading his heart, Taş said, “A stone has fallen on my head while I’ve been living an apolitical life for 40 years and I said ‘Let me go, let me affiliate with an organization’ so that it colours my life? It makes more sense for me if I was judged for Ham Çökelek.”

“I never entered the management room”

“We go through such an absurd period that I am accused of entering the management room of a TV channel which I have never gone to. How can I become a member of that organization, because I did not participate in their programs even once, and did not propagandize about them. Even if I do, does this make me an organization member? If you release me now, I do not have money to go home from here” Taş said about the claim in the indictment that he entered the management room of Bugün TV. Pointing to the seized media channels being turned into state channels, Taş reacted, “How is this a membership of the organization, for goodness sake?” and said as follows:

“I never wanted to write in the newspaper, but the area of ​​the opponents was so narrowed down that they (in power) did not even leave space to live (for opponents). How do I know who are retweeting me on Twitter where I have 1.700.000 followers? How do I watch it? It’s a free platform, of course abroad. Shall I write under my every tweet that ‘Do not retweet terrorist organization members, it is a nuisance to me’? I did not get any reason or instruction, I went to the newspaper only to drink tea 2-3 times. If the law works like this, let’s stop defending ourselves and pray plenty. We have seen the names of my friends prosecuted in this case in this indictment. I do not know when we came together and became members of an organization. What I understand from this indictment is that if you criticize the President, the government, you have acted in the line of terrorist organizations. Because they act like that, too. I curse terror, and terrorist organizations.”

When the chief justice Lorasdağı asked, “Where were you on July 15th?”, “I was at home. We went out, looked for a tank, but could not find. I wanted to have a photograph like Nihat Doğan,” Taş replied.

“It is never a matter of introducing Fuat Avni”

Another suspect Ahmet Memiş stated in his defense that he worked as a news coordinator in sites named Rota Haber and Haberdar. “It is never a matter of introducing Fuatavni. He (Fuat Avni) was although a known account, his sharings were liked numerously. Whole Turkey knows this.” said Memiş for claim that he introduced Fuat Avni (a whistle-blower Twitter account). Memiş argued that some of the news he made was against FETO, and he also claimed that he made a news about the voice recordings of Fetullah Gulen and Fetullah Gulen sued him for this reason. Memiş also stated that he did not use ByLock, and he bought a credit card 10 years ago from Bank Asia, but he did not use it.

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