Turkish pop singer and songwriter Mabel Matiz, whose real name is Fatih Karaca, released a new love song on the last day of Pride month called “Karakol” (‘Police Station’),  which features a love story between two men. 

Matiz starred alongside model Serdar Bileke in his music video and is seen holding red carnations and lilies in various shots, and colours of the rainbow flag are featured too. 

The song caused immediate backlash in conservative Turkish groups who voiced their displeasure at a song which celebrated gay relationships. Within hours of the video being released onto YouTube, almost 4.5 million people had already viewed the clip, and critics called for its removal. 

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The song also trended on Twitter with the hashtag #copshop used by fans and #HaddiniBilMabelMatiz (Mabel Matiz, know your place) used by critics who argued that the content was inappropriate.

Turkey’s main media watchdog, the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) responded by banning ‘Karakol’ from being broadcasted on TV stations across the country. 

Homosexuality Is Taboo In Turkey

Homosexuality is a taboo topic in Turkey where just last month, Pride Week in Istanbul ended with barricaded streets and multiple arrests by police to prevent participants from being able to march or celebrate being queer. The Istanbul Pride march has been banned consecutively since 2014. 

Police detained over 373 persons for taking part in the Istanbul Pride parade. City governors had banned the 30th Istanbul Pride Week, claiming it was a threat to peace and security.

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also vocalised his homophobic views in public previously. He’s even declared that queer people do not exist. In a televised speech last year, Erdoğan said that “The LGBT, there is no such thing. This country is… moral, and it will walk to the future with these values.”

Everything Passes, But Songs Remain

 

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A post shared by Mabel Matiz (@mabelmatiz)

Despite the song’s censorship by RTÜK and backlash from conservative critics within Turkey, there has been support from the public for Matiz. Many fans praised him as brave for showing an example of what gay love means. 

One fan said, “The song deserves praise for its brave and human reflections on domestic violence and homosexuality; It is a rare piece of protest in the form of art” Another said, “Art to combat intolerance and hate is more necessary than ever”

The singer responded to fans, artists, and other allies of the LGBT community in a post after the video had been banned in all TV channels. Matiz said, “To your messages, comments, which I could not reach one by one, your embrace of “Karakol” so sincerely, I thank you wholeheartedly.” 

He added that there were many more stories to tell and that his songs would continue to “express all the states of love and humanity to stubbornly hold hands” with, as “everything passes, but songs remain.” 

 

 



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