Music

Turkish singer threatened with ‘annihilation’ over tender gay love song

Josh Milton July 5, 2022
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Mabel Matiz performs at Congresium Ankara

Mabel Matiz. (Nihal Demirci/Getty Images)

A Turkish singer has been threatened with “annihilation” by fans and censorship from the state for releasing a gay love song.

Mabel Matiz, an LGBTQ+ rights activist known off-stage as Fatih Karaca, released “Karakul” on 30 June to cap off Pride Month.

The music video sees the “Öyle Kolaysa” singer, 36, long for and caress a man in a plush mansion as they hold red carnations and lilies.

But within hours of the video dropping on YouTube, drawing nearly 4.5 million views, critics on Twitter called for its immediate removal. “#HaddiniBilMabelMatiz“, or “Mabel Matiz, know your place”, trended across Turkey on 1 July.

One user wrote: “To avoid this happening again, there must be serious consequences and punishments. We are going to annihilate you.”

Another user called for LGBTQ+ people to be “corrected“.

“They are not accepted anywhere in the world, [they are] cursed seeds. It is neither true that it comes from God nor that it is innate. This horny perversion is just perversion,” they wrote.

A third user added: “We will not change Turkey‘s traditional culture … let your art sink to the ground.”

Mabel Matiz performs at Congresium Ankara
Mabel Matiz has remained defiant amid the wave of backlash. (Nihal Demirci/Getty Images)

But not everyone has blasted Matiz for the song. “Let’s plug our ears to all the bulls**t,” tweeted singer Gülsen, “and open up to this song.”

Turkey’s media regulator, the Radio and Television Supreme Council, otherwise known as RTÜK, has barred radio and television stations from playing the song, OutNewsGlobal reported.

It’s a blistering act of censorship that came only days after police in riot gear brutally broke apart Istanbul Pride. Police arrested at least 370 people who defiantly took to the streets of the capital city despite politicians banning the parade.

Kaos GL Derneği, one of Turkey’s oldest LGBTQ+ campaign groups, said in a statement: “Bans, censors cannot prevent our songs.

“Mabel’s voice and his breath are ours, all of us. Against the swamp of hate, we give voice to Mabel.”

In the face of simmering hatred, however, Matiz says he could not care less.

“I’m crying but with joy,” he wrote in a statement posted to Twitter. “To express all forms of love, affection and humanity,” he said, will always be something he strives to tell with his music.

“Everything passes,” Matiz added, “life and music remain.”

More: Turkey

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