A Turkish court has ordered the lifting of house arrest for pop star Gulsen, who was targeted by authorities in his country for joking about religious schools, his lawyer said on Monday.
The 46-year-old singer was briefly jailed last month in Istanbul for inciting hatred before being placed under house arrest four days later.
Her arrest followed the publication of a video on August 25 in Turkish pro-government media showing her making a joke about the religious upbringing of one of her musicians (“He is perverse because he attended a religious high school”) at a concert in April.
This incarceration had aroused the indignation of the opposition, which sees it as reprisals for the support of the singer for LGBT rights and her criticism of the Justice and Development Party (AKP, Islamo-conservative) of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Turkish government, for its part, claims that the courts are independent.
Gulsen ‘s lawyer, Emek Emre, said the court had accepted an appeal against the singer’s house arrest, adding that she was still banned from traveling abroad.
President Erdogan himself studied at one of the first Imam Hatip high schools in the country, founded by the state to train Muslim religious personnel.
Turkish singer Gulsen Bayraktar is also known for her support for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
Learn more about Gulsen
Her name is Gulsen, she’s a pop singer. Well, no, not “a singer”. An essential icon rather of Turkish pop, often compared to Lady Gaga, as much for the movements of the crowd that she can arouse, as for the extravagance of her outfits, or for the freedoms that she grants herself on stage, as in the city: playing and with her body, and her brain, open support for the LGBT cause, she is a living snub to the religious and conservatives of the country. She doesn’t care, she’s a hit.
Bangir Bangir, one of his greatest hits, which we are not likely to hear again for a long time: for a week, Gulsen has been under house arrest. Why ? For a joke made in concert, one evening when she explains that if one of her musicians is a pervert, it is because he has spent too much time in a Koranic school. Suffice to say that it did not make everyone laugh in Turkey. At the end of August, the video emerges, we do not know why or how, on social networks. It’s going viral. A few days later, Gulsen was arrested at her home in Istanbul. Taken to court in the process, she is now being prosecuted for incitement to hatred. His fans, since then, are very worried as you can imagine, but it goes way beyond that. In a few months, about fifteen musical events – concerts, tours, festivals, have been canceled in Turkey for “LGBT propaganda” or because they are considered contrary to the values and beliefs of the country….