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Turkey’s media watchdog warns against LGBTQ song as crackdown continues

Turkish pop star Mabel Matiz's “Copshop,” a song that tells the story of a gay man tortured in a police station, dovetails with a month-long government crackdown on LGBTQ groups and activities during Pride month. 
A screengrab from the music video for Copshop, but Turkish popstar Mabel Matiz.

“I cannot wait until midnight. Should we just release the song right away?” tweeted Mabel Matiz, the up and coming young star of the Turkish pop scene, on June 30, the last day of Pride month. Within minutes, he released the video for “Copshop,” a melodic reflection on a gay man tortured in a police station. Mere hours later, the hit became a trending topic on Twitter, with dueling hashtags: #copshop among supporters and #MabelMatizKnowYourPlace among those who attacked the video for what they called its obscene content. Within a day, Turkey’s media watchdog the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) warned TV stations not to air the video, which touches on two taboo subjects on its list: homosexuality and torture in police stations. 

“They grilled me, but I did not reveal your name / They carved in my heart the grave of love,” go the lyrics. Matiz, a gaunt-faced man with haunted eyes, sings longingly to a dark, brooding man amid neo-Ottoman decor. There are neither explicit love scenes nor nudity; only the use of symbolism such as flower petals hints that they are lovers. “A scandalous video with shameless innuendos,” read the headline of notoriously homophobic daily Yeni Akit. It claimed that Matiz, like Disney and Marvel, aimed to “normalize homosexuality.”

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