Syrian singer Omar Souleyman has been arrested in Turkey on terrorism charges
The singer Omar Souleyman, real name Omar Almasikh, was detained during a raid by local officials on his home in Urfa, a city in southeastern Turkey, not far from the Syrian border. Journalist Jake Hanrahan, who was reported from Syria and Turkey, tweeted that Almasikh had reportedly been accused of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, (PKK).
He added that Almasikh is from Serekaniye in Syria. “Throughout his career, he has always shown solidarity with the Kurdish Struggle. This is likely the reason for the accusation.”
According to a Kronos article, Almasikh was given a health check before leaving the hospital to be questioned elsewhere. He has been living in Urfa for several years, ever since the civil war broke out in Syria.
As his stage name Omar Souleyman, Almasikh mixed the traditional dabke music sound with electronic beats and performed at festivals such as Glastonbury, Roskilde and Way Out West. Almasikh’s son denied the terrorism charges, saying his father had no political affiliations and that a “malicious report” had been filed against him.
Tens of thousands of people across Turkey have been detained in recent years on terrorism charges in president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s crackdown on followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara blames for a 2016 coup attempt, and the PKK, which is regarded as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the UK, EU and US.
Along with about 3.6 million more Syrian refugees, Almasikh and his family settled in Turkey. He has opened a bakery in his town and he gives talks on life in Syria before and after the war.
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