Nov 17 2018

Musician denies link to academics, activists detained over Gezi protests

German musician David Martello told Ahval that he was not invited by anyone to join the Gezi Park protests in 2013 and he had no links to Turkish academics and civil society activists who were detained on Friday over charges that they were the organisers of the protests.

Istanbul’s Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday said that the 13 people were detained for links to Anadolu Kültür, an NGO founded by Turkish philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala, who has been in prison for more than a year.

The prosecutors have not prepared an indictment for Kavala, therefore the official charges against him is unknown. However, news reports of the pro-pro-government media indicate that Kavala is blamed for orchestrating the Gezi Park protests.

The detainees are accused of taking part in the organisation of Gezi Park protests by raising money, promoting the events in the media, and by recruiting activists from abroad. 

The prosecutors said that Ceyda Sungur, who was pepper sprayed by the police and became a symbol of Gezi protests as “the woman in red ” and Erdem Gündüz, a performance artist, who is known as “the standing man ” for joining the street protests by standing still for hours, were among names the police says the detainees recruited from abroad.

Martello was also included in the Public Prosecutor’s Office’s statement as one of the recruited activists of the Gezi Park protests, which swept across Turkey in 2013 from a run-down park near Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

The prosecutors called the German musician “the man with the piano”, as he performed the masses 14-hour recitals during the unrest. His piano was seized by the Turkish police during the protests.

 

“Nobody invited me to Gezi Park. I only wanted to stop violence and thought some music may help,” Martello said in response to the accusations. 

“I know none of those people. Did they organise the Gezi protests,” he said, when Ahval asked whim whether he knew of any of the detainees. 

“Those people under detention are heroes”, he said. “We will always remember them as supporters of free speech and justice.”

Martello did not only came to Turkish protestors support with his piano. In 2015, he played Hohn Lennon’s “Imagine” in Bataclan theatre, after 129 people died in the deadly attacks of the Islamic State in the French capital of Paris. 

Martello also visited Turkey in 2014 and played his piano in the western province of Izmir to raise funds for the victims of Soma mine disaster that killed 301 miners.