Prosecutor seeks 3 years in jail for Turkish pop star Gülşen over remarks about Islamic Imam Hatip schools

In their final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”), a Turkish prosecutor has demanded up to three years in prison for pop star Gülşen who is on trial for a joke about Islamic Imam Hatip schools.

Duvar English

A Turkish prosecutor seeks up to three years in prison in their final opinion for famous pop singer Gülşen who is facing charges of “inciting hatred and hostility among the public” over her comments about Islamic Imam Hatip schools.

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.

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."

Imam Hatip schools are religious institutions which were founded by the state to educate young men to be imams and preachers.

At the time, thousands took to social media in support, saying she was targeted for her support for LGBT+ rights and liberal views that go against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

Several AKP executives, including President Erdoğan, targeted Gülşen after her remarks surfaced.

Upon public uproar, the singer was released from jail on Aug. 29.

The prosecutor presented their final sentencing opinion (“mütalaa”) and demanded up to three years in prison for Gülşen Çolakoğlu over the alleged charge of "inciting hatred and hostility among the public," Demirören News Agency reported on March 1.

The court adjourned the next hearing of Gülşen's trial to May 3.

Erdoğan himself studied at one of the country's first Imam Hatip schools.