Duvar English - Reuters
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Aug. 29 targeted famous singer Gülşen Bayraktar Çolakoğlu who was released from pre-trial detention and transferred to house arrest over a past quip she made about Islamic Imam Hatip schools.
“Those who insult the sacred values of our nation will not be able to get away from being held accountable both in common conscience and before the law,” Erdoğan said, without explicitly mentioning Gülşen's name.
Erdoğan made the comments during a rally held in the western province of Afyon. “In recent days, we have seen that the provocations against our brotherhood have reached a very serious level, targeting our places of worship and Imam Hatip schools,” he said.
“As a nation, we will not be provoked and intimidated again,” he added.
Earlier on Aug. 29, an Istanbul court ruled to release Gülşen from jail and placed her under house arrest, after the singer's formal arrest four days ago over a quip about Imam Hatip schools sparked outrage.
Gülşen was jailed pending trial on Aug. 25 on a charge of incitement to hatred, after a video of her comments from four months ago surfaced on a website of a pro-government newspaper Sabah a day earlier.
In the video of her performance in April, Gülşen refers to a musician in her band and says in a light-hearted manner: "He studied at an Imam Hatip (school) previously. That's where his perversion comes from."
Thousands took to social media in support last week, saying she was targeted for her support for LGBT+ rights and liberal views that go against Erdoğan's Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). Several ministers condemned her comments on Twitter.
Erdoğan, whose AKP first came to power nearly two decades ago, himself studied at one of the country's first Imam Hatip schools, religious institutions which were founded by the state to educate young men to be imams and preachers.
Gülşen apologized to anyone offended by her remarks, saying they were seized upon by some who want to polarise society.