Turkish Pop Star Gulsen Jailed Over Joke About Religious Schools – Billboard


Turkish pop star Gulsen has been arrested on expenses 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 title 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.



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The arrest sparked outrage on social media. Authorities critics stated 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 certainly one of her musicians’ “perversion” stemmed from attending a non secular faculty. A video of the singer’s remark started circulating on social media just lately, with a hashtag calling for her arrest.

Gulsen — who beforehand grew to become a goal in Islamic circles as a consequence of her revealing stage outfits and for unfurling an LGBTQ flag at a live performance — apologized for the offense the joke prompted however stated her feedback had been seized on by these desirous to deepen polarization within the nation.

Throughout her questioning by court docket authorities, Gulsen rejected accusations that she incited hatred and enmity, and stated she had “limitless 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 predominant opposition get together, 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 get together, identified by its Turkish acronym AKP, appeared nonetheless, to defend the choice to arrest the singer, saying “inciting hatred just isn’t an artwork kind.”

“Focusing on a phase 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 get together are graduates of non secular colleges, which had been initially established to coach imams. The variety of non secular colleges in Turkey has elevated beneath Erdogan, who has promised to boost a “pious era.”

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