Eccentric singer testifies for 'insulting' Turkish PM

Eccentric singer testifies for 'insulting' Turkish PM

Eccentric singer testifies for insulting Turkish PM

Singer-turned-social-media-star Atilla Taş teased Turkish officials through a series of tweets late March 6, sharing a photo that 'depicts his fear.'

An eccentric Turkish singer has testified for "insulting" Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, becoming the latest celebrity targeted by Turkey's draconian laws protecting public officials from defamation.

"It is an honor to be detained for my opinions, not for stealing or for corruption," Atilla Taş said late March 6 on his Twitter account, which has more than 720,000 followers.

In 1998, Taş rose to fame with his first single, "Ham Çökelek" (a type of Turkish cheese), which has been widely mocked for its perceived frivolousness and absurdity since then. 

In the past few years, Taş broke with his past as a singer and rediscovered himself as one of the most popular critics of the Turkish government on social media with his stinging one-liners.

"It would be more logical if I was detained for my songs," Taş tweeted in his usual self-mocking style on March 6 soon after he testified at a police center in Istanbul's Yeşilköy neighborhood.

After thanking "parliamentarians, journalists, fans and followers" who sent support messages, Taş added that he "has no fear."

In 2012, Turkish social media users had started a campaign to pass Taş off as a Greek after his song, “Yamyam Style” – inspired by the global phenomenon “Gangnam Style” – caused national embarrassment when it was posted on YouTube.

Taş is not the first public figure who testified for "insulting" an official through social media.

Merve Büyüksaraç, a former Miss Turkey, faces up to 4.5 years in prison on charges of insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after his lawyer lodged a complaint in November 2014 against a satirical poem taken from a magazine and posted on her Instagram site.

More than 60 people, including prominent journalist Can Dündar and several teenagers, have testified in the past months on similar charges.