Hrant Dink was shot dead in front of his
newspaper's office in January [AFP]
A Turkish singer has caused outrage after releasing a song which many people believe justifies the murder of an ethnic Armenian journalist in January.

Hrant Dink was shot dead outside his newspaper's office in Istanbul.

'Don't Make Plans' by Ismail Turut has become one of the most requested songs one Turkish DJ's radio show after a clip set to the tune received thousands of hits on the popular video-sharing website YouTube.

The clip showed pictures of Dink's body and the suspected killer, while the lyrics of the song include the line; "If someone betrays his own country, he'll be taken care of immediately."

Dink had been criticised for describing the mass killings of Armenians during the rule of the Ottoman Empire as "genocide" in defiance of the official Turkish line.

At the time of his murder, Dink was being prosecuted penal code article which that bans insulting the Turkish identity.

The European Union, which Turkey is hoping to join, has asked Ankara to remove such restrictions on freedom of expression.

'Harmless' song

Turut - who describes himself as a Muslim and a nationalist - has said he does not approve of Dink's killing. He also said he had nothing to do with the YouTube clip and insisted that his song is harmless. 

"I feel like a victim in my homeland for defending some of our values"

Ismail Turut,
singer
Turut was speaking to the Associated Press news agency the day after he and Arif Ozan, the writer of the song, had been called to explain the meaning of their work to a prosecutor.

"Even if I have 40 heads and they chop off all of them, I will not apologise for even a letter [of the song]," Turut said. "Who has been subject to the slightest of harm because of my song?"

Up to 1.5 million ethnic Armenians were killed between 1915 and 1917. Armenians say the deaths were part of a co-ordinated programme of genocide but Turkey insists the numbers are inflated and that the killings occurred during a time of civil unrest.

Riza Dalkilic, head of Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association, has filed a complaint against the song.

"He must apologise," she said.

Turut argues that if there really is freedom of expression in Turkey, his video should be tolerated.

"I feel like a victim in my homeland for defending some of our values" he said. "Don't I have the right to freedom of expression?"

Source: Agencies