Turkish police detained an Iranian man for hanging a towel with a U.K. flag design on his balcony in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri on May 19, which is the day that the country celebrates the Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day.
Residents of the neighborhood in Kayseri's Kocasinan district got enraged and notified police when they saw the towel in Iranian Mohammad Reza K.'s balcony.
Police arrived at the scene and detained the man as people applauded the move.
A man was seen attempting to attack Reza K. as he was being escorted to a police vehicle.
"Söz konusu havluyu kurutmak için balkonuna astığını iddia eden yabancı uyruklu şahıs hakkında gerekli yasal işlemler başlatılmıştır"— BBC News Türkçe (@bbcturkce) May 20, 2020
Kayseri'de balkonuna Birleşik Krallık bayrağı desenli havlu asan İranlı gözaltına alındı: https://t.co/b9CUzzYhQ8 pic.twitter.com/kg9EaiiFPV
Kayseri Governor's Office released a statement following the incident, saying that "necessary legal action was launched into the man."
"He claimed to have hung the towel on his balcony to dry it," read the statement, adding that the towel was "seized."
In his testimony, Reza K. said that he didn't mean any provocation.
"I wanted to dry the wet towel. I didn't engage in any provocative actions," he said.
He was released subsequently.
The incident was met with surprise on social media, with thousands urging authorities to explain the reason for detention.
A second statement was released from the governor's office on May 20, saying that people in the area "evaluated the foreign flag as being against the Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day."
"Following talks with the individual, it was understood that he didn't have any different intentions and the incident was put on record," it said.