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What Did This Young Woman Do to Get Sent to Prison in Turkey?

Twenty-something-year-old Nûdem Durak used to sing and teach Kurdish folk songs to children in Turkey, until it got her imprisoned.

And that’s why it is a somewhat unnerving experience watching this video above about her life before prison.

She’s a shy young woman who only wants to sing and express herself through art.

Going by what little information is available about her case, Nûdem might not be free for another 10 years.

Her lawyer told The Kurdistan Tribune that she has been charged by the Turkish authorities with “promoting Kurdish propaganda by teaching Kurdish folk songs to youth music groups.”

One thing is certain: Nûdem is a victim of the long conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish people.

The maker of the film, Eyelem Kaftan, writing on the AJ+ website, said that she met Nûdem in the town of Cizre in southeastern Turkey.

“She was quiet and soft-spoken, and her story shocked me,” wrote Eylem.

“She had been accused of writing and distributing propaganda by the Turkish government, when all she was doing was simply singing in Kurdish and teaching Kurdish songs to the children in her community. We were in the midst of a peace process in Turkey, and so I thought these kinds of stories were a thing of the past.”

Eylem wrote that she was confused why this was happening to Nûdem because there were many other Kurdish singers making albums and who were singing in public.

“I didn’t understand why Durak was being punished. To me, she was just a young, talented girl who wanted to express herself in a peaceful, free world,” wrote Eylem.

Nûdem Durak could be imprisoned for as long as ten years for singing Kurdish songs. (Image from Facebook page Free Nudem Durak)
Nûdem Durak could be imprisoned for as long as 10 years for singing Kurdish songs. (Image from Facebook page Free Nûdem Durak)

According to The Kurdistan Tribune, Nûdem was arrested on April 22 and taken to prison where she hasn’t been eating due to stress. She has a “supreme court” level hearing due in a year. She has access to a telephone once a week.

To find out more, see the Facebook page Free Nudem Durak, and to sign a petition calling for her release go to Avaaz, the online campaigning community.

The Kurds

There are an estimated 13 million Kurds living in Turkey. For more information on who the Kurds are and about their plight, see the video below:

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James Burke
What keeps the world ticking? James is always looking for the answer and the latest news from around the globe. When he's not behind his computer, he's basking in the Thailand sun, or dreaming of the southern hemisphere, where he grew up in rural Australia.

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