Turkish pop star Gülşen Çolakoğlu was jailed after a joke about religious schools in Turkey.

Turkish pop star Gülşen Çolakoğlu was jailed after a joke about religious schools in Turkey.
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The accusations appear to be related to a video circulating on social media of a Gülşen concert in April where he joked about one of the musicians.

“He graduated from Imam Hatip (religious schools). This is where his perverted side comes from,” he said.

Several Twitter users can be seen sharing the video on Thursday with a hashtag calling for his arrest and saying it is offensive to associate schools with perverts.

According to her lawyer Emek Emre, Gülşen denies committing any crime and is objecting to the arrest.

Gülşen apologized to “anyone who was angry” in her post on her official Twitter and Instagram accounts after her detention, and said the joke was distorted by “malicious people who aim to polarize our country”.

“I joked with colleagues with whom I worked for many years in the business world. It was published by people who aim to polarize society,” he said.

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“In defending the freedom I believe in, I see myself thrown towards the radical end that I criticized. I apologize to anyone who was offended by my speech in the video,” he said.

According to Anadolu, he later testified that it was an “unfortunate joke” and that he had a child attached to him and that he would come to court or the police station if necessary, and asked to be released.

Gülşen has previously been targeted by Turkish conservative groups for revealing her stage outfits and supporting the LGBTQ community.

The Muslim-majority country is officially secular, but highly polarized on issues surrounding secularism, religion, women’s rights, and LGBTQ rights.

Imam Hatip schools, which teach religion as well as the Turkish curriculum, have grown in the two decades that the conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power. Schools are known for training young people as imams or preachers. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan went to school, as did many AKP party members.

Debate in Turkey

There were reactions to the arrest from ordinary Turks, celebrities and even political parties.

Following his arrest, social media posts showed fans singing in solidarity in a packed football stadium.

Award-winning British-Turkish novelist Elif Şafak, like other cultural figures, called for Gülşen’s release.

“I am deeply saddened by the arrest of artist @gülsen. He was targeted because he bravely defended women’s rights, LGBT+ rights, secularism, democracy and pluralism. This is a lynching campaign. Neither legitimate nor conscientious. Immediately free. # gulsenserbestbarakil” tweeted out.

Iconic Turkish pop star Tarkan also wrote on Twitter on Friday, “This injustice to Gülşen must end and Gülşen must be released immediately.”

“Those who sexually abuse children, murder women, rape women, and even sometimes release them without trial, but when it comes to Gülşen, they take action immediately. Our legal system, which ignores those who corrupt, is stealing. Violating the law, slaughtering nature, killing animals, religion is based on its own bigoted ideas. tooling and polarizing society arrested Gülşen in one coup,” he wrote.

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While AKP supporters defended the arrest, AKP Spokesperson Ömer Çelik said “inciting hatred is not an art”. in a Twitter post.

Turkish Treasury and Finance Minister Dr. In his tweet, Nurettin Nebati said, “Our Imam Hatip High Schools are our distinguished institutions that raise generations equipped with our national and spiritual values ​​and have moral maturity. I strongly condemn this distorted language and the twisted mentality behind it. Our Imam Hatip Schools and I find this unacceptable.”

Meanwhile, Turkey described the reaction against Gülşen, the leader of the main opposition party, as a fabricated argument to “turn our youth against each other”.

“The winds of peace have been blowing between young people with different lifestyles for a long time. The purpose (arrest) is to take a joke that goes beyond its purpose and set our young people against each other. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu wrote on Twitter.

Both presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey are scheduled for early next summer.

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