The arrest of a Turkish pop star for mocking religious schools has sparked a backlash from critics of the government, who say it is intended to punish those who oppose their conservative views.
Pop singer Gulshan was arrested on Thursday on charges of incitement to hatred after a video of a statement he made on stage in April was released by a pro-government media outlet.
“I used to study at Imam Hatip school. This is where his disorder comes from,” Gulshan says lightly in the video, referring to a musician in his group.
President Tayyip ErdoganAbout 20 years ago, the AK Party, which came to power with Islamist roots for the first time, studied at one of the first Imam Hatip schools of the country, which was established by the state to train imams and orators for young people.
On Wednesday, the pro-government Sabah newspaper released the video, saying Gulshan had previously been criticized for “her actions on stage, her high-necked clothes and her raising of the LGBT flag.”
Several ministers reacted to Gulshe’s words on Twitter, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag condemned what he called his “primitive” statements and “old mentality”.
“It is the greatest disrespect to art to incite one part of society against another by using hateful, hateful and discriminatory language under the name of an artist,” he wrote.
On Thursday, Gulshan apologized to everyone who was offended by his words and said that these words were accepted by those who wanted to polarize the society.
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Gulsen’s lawyer, Emek Emre, told Reuters that his legal team contested the official arrest warrant on Friday, saying the process of his arrest was unlawful and illegal from the start.
“We expect everything to be done as required by law. My hope and expectation is that this (arrest) decision will be canceled.”
Thousands of people supported Gülsen on social media, saying he was targeted for his liberal views and support for LGBT+ rights.
Veysel Ok, a lawyer and co-director of the Media and Legal Research Association, said, “They are arresting him because he is a representative of secular Turkey and an artist sensitive to supporting the LGBTI movement.”
“I think they were looking for an excuse to arrest him and they found it ironically four months ago,” he told Reuters in an interview from his office in Istanbul.
In a rare move, several staunchly pro-government columnists criticized Gülsen’s arrest.
“Are we going to arrest everyone who talks nonsense until the trial? Let society punish him,” said Mehmet Barlas in his column in “Sabah”.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said that the arrest was aimed at polarizing society in order to keep Erdogan’s AK Party in power.
Erdogan and the AK Party say that Turkish courts are independent.
Referring to the arrest of the philanthropist, lawyer Ok said that this case, on the contrary, showed that the judicial system in the country is not independent. Osman KavalaKurdish supporter Selahattin Demirtaş and many other politicians and journalists in recent years.
“The Gulshan case once again showed that the Turkish judicial system is the biggest weapon of the government. “It makes you feel that if you live differently than those in power, your life and freedom are in danger.”
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