Zuhal Olcay is close to being a household word in her native Turkey. In the middle 1970s, she was a highly regarded stage actress; starting in 1983, she appeared in about three dozen films; she released her first record album (Küçük Bir Öykü Bu — “A Little Story”) in 1989. The singing has gotten her in trouble, as we shall see.
Now about that trouble:
Turkish singer and actress Zuhal Olcay has been sentenced to 10 months in jail for “insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” finalizing an indictment approved by the 46th Criminal Court of Peace.
A lawsuit was filed against Olcay for “insulting” Erdoğan during a concert last year, with the prosecutor seeking a four-year prison sentence for the singer.
The indictment prepared by the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office said a citizen told the police that Olcay had made an insulting hand gesture about Erdoğan during a concert in the Kadıköy district of Istanbul on Aug. 5, 2016. An investigation was subsequently launched and footage from the concert was examined, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Dec. 12, 2017.
Olcay was also accused of revising lyrics to the song “Boş Vermişim Dünyayı” (I Let Go of the World) to criticize Erdoğan, devising a hand-gesture to accompany the melody. According to the footage, the revised lyrics say: “Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it’s all empty, it’s all a lie. Life will end one day and you’ll say ‘I had a dream’.”
The maximum sentence for insulting the President is, um, four years.
Nor is this the first time she’s run afoul of the Turkish authorities; six years ago she was fined TL10,620 ($2708) for “insulting a public servant.”
Said Turkish authorities have apparently sent all existing footage of “Boş Vermişim Dünyayı” down the memory hole. But we have to hear her sing, so here’s an “unplugged” version of “Eksik Bir Şey” (“One thing missing”):
Still got the pipes at sixty, I’d say.