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Public prosecutor files an appeal of singer Bülent Ersoy's acquittal

(BIANET/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of an 11 February 2009 BIANET statement:

Following the acquittal of singer Bülent Ersoy for her criticism of cross-border operations into Northern Iraq last year, the prosecutor in the case is insisting on an appeal, arguing that Ersoy's biological inability to have children is an insult to Turkish mothers.

Ersoy, a colourful transsexual singer, temporarily banned from performing on stage after the military coup in the 1980s and now mostly in the magazine headlines for her outfits, young husbands and cosmetic surgery, expressed her opposition to the cross-border operations in Northern Iraq live on TV on 24 February 2008. She made comments, such as, "If I had given birth to a child and someone sitting at a desk had said, 'You will do this, he will do that,' and I would have buried my child, would I accept that?" and "I cannot know exactly what it means to have a child. I am not a mother and will never be able to be one. But I am a human being; and as a human being, to bury them (. . .) I may not know how these mother's hearts are breaking, but mothers understand."

Although Ersoy was acquitted of the charges against her on 18 December 2008, the prosecutor has filed an appeal.

Ersoy's lawyer, Muhiddin Yüzüak, said that the appeal is standard procedure and that he and his client have agreed that she should not comment on the case.

However normal such an appeal may be, one part of it is striking in its attempt to accuse the singer based on her transsexuality: "It would be naive to evaluate as goodwill and freedom of expression the words uttered by a person who is medically unable to bear children and who is thus arguably provoking Turkish mothers."

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