A prominent Kurdish singer has been released from custody after he was detained at the Istanbul airport on allegations of terrorism against him.
Ferhat Tunc, a Zaza-Kurdish singer and a pro-Kurdish politician of Turkish nationality, was detained by police on terrorism-related charges. He was returning from a tour in Germany.
Tunc spent one night at the police custody and was released by the court pending trial.
In 2011, Tunc was sentenced to two years in prison after a speech in Tunceli, a Kurdish-majority city located in eastern Turkey and the birthplace of Tunc.
“I greet you all in the revolutionary spirit of Deniz Gezmiş, Mahir Çayan and İbrahim Kaypakkaya,” were Tunc’s words that saw him imprisoned. Three figures he mentioned were leftist armed insurgents hailed as heroes in Turkey’s left-leaning political discourse.
This prison sentence was later transformed into a ban on giving public speeches for three years.
In September 2018 Tunc was sentenced to one year, eleven months and twelve days in prison on a charge of spreading the propaganda of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD)/People’s Defense Units (YPG).
YPG is known for fighting ISIS in Syria alongside the international coalition. Turkish authorities view the insurgent group as PKK’s Syrian proxy, as such, it is regarded as a terrorist organisation.
Tunc is also facing charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after he posted the remarks on his Twitter account in 2016.