Turkish pop star Gulsen has been arrested on prices of “inciting hatred and enmity” with a joke she made about Turkey’s non secular colleges, the nation’s state-run information company reported.
The 46-year-old singer and songwriter, whose full identify is Gulsen Colakoglu, was taken away from her dwelling in Istanbul for questioning and formally arrested late Thursday (Aug. 25). She was then taken to a jail pending trial.
The arrest sparked outrage on social media. Authorities critics mentioned the transfer was an effort by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to consolidate assist from his non secular and conservative forward of elections in 10 months.
The costs had been based mostly on a joke Gulsen made throughout an April live performance in Istanbul, the place she quipped that considered one of her musicians’ “perversion” stemmed from attending a spiritual faculty. A video of the singer’s remark started circulating on social media lately, with a hashtag calling for her arrest.
Gulsen — who beforehand grew to become a goal in Islamic circles as a result of her revealing stage outfits and for unfurling an LGBTQ flag at a live performance — apologized for the offense the joke brought about however mentioned her feedback had been seized on by these eager to deepen polarization within the nation.
Throughout her questioning by court docket authorities, Gulsen rejected accusations that she incited hatred and enmity, and mentioned she had “infinite respect for the values and sensitivities of my nation,” the state-run Anadolu Company reported.
Her request to be launched from custody pending the end result of a trial was rejected.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, chief of Turkey’s essential opposition occasion, known as on Turkey’s judges and prosecutors to launch Gulsen.
“Don’t betray the legislation and justice; launch the artist now!” he wrote on Twitter.
The spokesman for Erdogan’s Justice and Growth occasion, identified by its Turkish acronym AKP, appeared nonetheless, to defend the choice to arrest the singer, saying “inciting hatred shouldn’t be an artwork kind.”
“Concentrating on a section of society with the allegation of “perversion” and attempting to polarize Turkey is a hate crime and a shame to humanity,” AKP spokesman Omer Celik tweeted.
Erdogan and lots of members of his Islam-based ruling occasion are graduates of non secular colleges, which had been initially established to coach imams. The variety of non secular colleges in Turkey has elevated underneath Erdogan, who has promised to lift a “pious technology.”