Young man allegedly murdered in Ankara for listening to Kurdish music

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A 20-year-old Kurdish man was stabbed to death yesterday in the Turkish capital for listening to Kurdish music.

Barış Çakan was stabbed in the heart for listening to Kurdish music at 22:30 local time yesterday evening.

The racist attack occurred in the Alsancak District in western Ankara and according to Evrensel, three attackers were detained.

Turkish news reports quoted his family who said that Çakan left the house at night to sit in the park with his friends, but was attacked by a group of three people because he was listening to Kurdish music.

Çakan, who was stabbed in the heart as a result of the attack, died at the scene but was taken to Private Etimad Hospital.

Doğan Çakan, the cousin of Barış, said that the funeral would be held today.

Interior Ministry Spokesman İsmail Çataklı disputed the initial reports and said in a statement that "those who put forth this claim are provocateurs who have abused this issue for years," while a statement by the Ankara Governorate disputed the reports and said the claims aimed to provoke tension.

The incident happened “when the deceased and his friend warned the suspects because they were listening to loud music in a car and disturbing the neighbours during evening prayers, contrary to the claims,” the governorate said.

However, many have dismissed the claims by government officials as trying to cover up yet another discriminatory attack against minorities in Turkey.

According to reports, the three suspects who attacked Çakan, were carrying identity cards from Yozgat, Kırıkkale and Tokat, but any information about the identity of the suspects could not be obtained.

Speaking to Greek City Times, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, Nikos Michailidis, said that widespread racism in Turkey exists against the Kurdish minority.

"There is widespread structural racism against Kurds and hostility towards any public expression of Kurdish cultural identity. Far right-wing, Nazi-like networks are very powerful and supported by state authorities. Actually state authorities are staffed from the pool of the extremist Turkish far-right and Islamist. The government uses the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) as a pretext to silence every Kurdish voice and to label any expression of Kurdish culture as terrorism."

When asked what needs to happen so that systemic racism ends in Turkey, the esteemed professor said "as long as this fascist regime remains in power, those attacks will continue."

"I do not think that the regime will radically change any time soon... The Turkish government in the future must start negotiations with the Kurds for a political solution. But this will take time and it will require the democratisation of the country," he concluded.