SIVAN PERWER – ERDOGAN’S INSTRUMENT OF PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE
BBC UK – 19-11-2013 – Sivan Perwer’s return to Turkey exposes a rift within the Kurdish movement. Some Kurds in Diyarbakir accuse their most famous singer of allowing himself to be co-opted by Mr Erdogan and Mr Barzani, as part of an attempt to marginalise the PKK, a movement that Turkey designates as a terrorist organisation.
In the centre of Diyarbakir, several hundred Kurds organise a rival festival of their own. They dance to traditional music, and wave yellow flags with the face of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned PKK leader. “We want [Perwer’s] arrival to be a contribution to peace,” says one man sceptically. But none of this crowd rushes to try to see him in concert. Those who have been invited to the university hall, on the other hand, look slightly startled to see the world’s most famous Kurdish singer on stage just for them. “It’s great. We’re so proud,” says one of the newly married couples. “It’s an unexpected excitement for us.” In exile, Perwer sang of “fire and dynamite in the face of the enemy”. But a wedding calls for a different set list. Sivan Perwer serenades his audience, including the Turkish prime minister, with a love song in Kurdish. “Leyla, you have become a fire in my heart. Leyla, Leyla, Leyla, Leyla.” Suitably moved, the politicians and the singers leave the hall. Brides wearing high heels take care not to trip over balloons on their way out. Anyone able to pick past the confetti can now make it to the empty seats in the front row. On the returned singer’s chair, a white sticky label reads: “Sivan Perver.” His surname is spelled the Turkish way, with a “v”, not the Kurdish way, with a “w”.