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Writer, singer sued for allegedly alienating people from military service

(BIANET/IFEX) - In two separate incidents, a writer and transsexual singer are being sued for allegedly alienating people from military service.

Writer Cezmi Ersöz, who is facing three years in prison for "alienating people from military service" was to appear before the 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance of Beyglu, Istanbul, on 30 October 2008.

A lawsuit was filed against Ersöz because of his article titled "Askerligin Dönüsü Güzeldir" (Coming back from the army is beautiful), which appeared in the periodical "Leman" on 5 September 2007.

The reason for the lawsuit is the following passage: "Army was the hell for the naïve young people. If I live long enough, I would like to write a novel out of this savagery? Friends who have gone to the army out of helplessness, do not feel bad, if you can at least come back from there with optimistic thoughts about this society - yes, optimistic - then you may realize that this is and will be a much better society without its military and you will console yourself with this thought."

In addition to Ersöz, transsexual singer Bülent Ersoy was also to appear before the court on 30 October. Ersoy is accused of verbally alienating people from military service during a TV program when she said if she had a son, she would not send him to fight in the Northern Iraq operations.

In her previous hearing, Ersoy defended her words by saying, "If asking for solution rather than death is treason or alienating people from military service, then this is a problem of understanding. I am here because I was misunderstood."

"I simply showed my reaction to a comment by another speaker regarding the death of our sons. I had no intention of committing a crime. There is nothing criminal in what I said anyways," said Ersoy.

Ersoy's previous hearing ended with the decision to wait for the complainants' statements.

According to article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code, "(1) Anyone caught encouraging or suggesting alienation of people from the military service or does propaganda towards this goal will be sentenced to prison from six months to two years. (2) If this act is done through media then the sentence will be doubled."

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