In Turkey, pop singer Gülsen imprisoned in the wake of numerous sanctions targeting artists – Liberation

In Turkey, pop singer Gülsen imprisoned in the wake of numerous sanctions targeting artists – Liberation
The Turkish artist was arrested on Thursday and detained for criticizing a religious school during a concert. She is not the only one to have been targeted by the authorities, worried about currying favor with the conservative electorate.

Another voice silenced. Turkish singer Gülsen, famous for her support of the LGBT community as well as for her flamboyant appearances on stage, was arrested on Thursday at her Istanbul home before being taken to court, where a judge ordered her preventive detention after having opened an investigation for “incitement to hatred”.

The facts date back to April. While performing in the city of Atasehir, the singer jokingly remarked that the “perversion” of one of his musicians was linked to his education in an Imam Hatip school. These denominational schools, initially intended for the training of Muslim religious personnel, have seen their numbers and numbers multiply over the past twenty years. Having gone viral on social media earlier this week, the footage led to an intense smear campaign against the singer, followed by her arrest.

At least sixteen events canceled

In recent months, the count of artists condemned to silence continues to grow. In November, Syrian artist Omar Souleyman was arrested because of its supposed proximity to the Kurdish PKK party, considered a terrorist organization in Turkey. In May, a K-pop concert accused of “promoting homosexuality” was prohibited. Since then, no less than sixteen events have been canceled in Turkey by local authorities. Latest victim: the very popular Milyon Fest, which was to be held in September in the district of Fethiye, in the south of the country, and was canceled under the pretext of “harm to the ecological balance”.

This weekend, another singer is facing threats to cancel a long-planned concert. The head of the Diyanet-Sen religious union in the city of Corum, in central Turkey, has opposed the visit of singer Aleyna Tilki to a festival to be held there in September.

“What was done is illegal, it is a show of force”

“We don’t want to see anyone in our district who doesn’t contribute to the city’s culture, art, social life, traditions, values ​​and beliefs, and who undermines our religious and national values. , he said on social media on Friday. We are against LGBT defenders who lead a life contrary to the mores of society, being presented as role models. Known for her defense of minorities, the young singer had already been shouted down by part of Turkish public opinion in 2016 after giving a concert in a gay bar in Istanbul.

Denounced on Turkish social networks by a section of the population desperate to see the freedoms of their singers diminished, these serial arrests and bans are seen as an attempt by the authorities to secure the good graces of a conservative electoral base. , hard hit by an endless financial crisis and bearing the brunt of out-of-control inflation. The polls for the presidential election, which will take place in June 2023, put Recep Tayyip Erdogan in difficulty, whose authoritarian and Islamist drift is arousing growing indignation inside and outside its borders. “You cannot detain, arrest or deprive anyone of their liberty because of their word. Since you have opened an investigation, invite them to testify. What was done was illegal, it was a show of force,” reacted on Twitter the lawyer Veysel Ok, co-director of the NGO Media and Law Studies Association, the day of the arrest of the singer. This Sunday, Gülsen was still imprisoned.

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