Pop diva braves flak to deliver minority songs

ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkey’s favorite pop singer defied criticism by nationalists and went ahead with a concert of songs in the languages of the country’s minorities, aimed at promoting ethnic tolerance, the press reported on Saturday. Sezen Aksu came under fire from far-right politicians earlier this month when she sang songs in Armenian, Greek, Hebrew and Kurdish, as well as Turkish, in a concert in Izmir, the first leg of a tour. But Aksu, who had considered canceling the remainder of the tour, repeated the same program in front of a 6,000-strong audience in Istanbul late on Friday, boosted by support from the liberal media. An Armenian church choir, musical groups from the Greek and Jewish communities, and a children’s choir from Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeastern region, accompanied her on stage. PASOK’s effort shows that the ruling Socialists see the defeat of their nominees in Piraeus and Thessaloniki as a foregone conclusion.