Turkish opera singer Güvenç Dağüstün briefly detained for 'insulting' pro-gov't academic on Twitter

Turkish tenor Güvenç Dağüstün was briefly detained on July 2 on charges of having "insulted" academic Selman Öğüt, who is known to have close ties to the government, in a tweet.

Duvar English

Turkish tenor Güvenç Dağüstün was detained on insult charges in Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen Airport around noon, he said in a tweet on July 2.

"I was detained in Sabiha Gökçen airport. The issue: Insult. To whom? We don't know," tweeted the artist at 12.04 p.m.

The artist said that he was to be transported to the Anadolu Courthouse on the Anatolian, adding that he'll know more about the case once he's at the courthouse.

At 1.06 p.m., he posted a second tweet, saying that he was still at the Sabiha Gökçen police station and that he hoped to still travel in time for a concert in the Aegean Gümüşlük.

Later on in the day, the artist said that authorities released him from detention following his testimony and he was on his way back to the airport. 

He shared a copy of his testimony, saying that he was facing charges over a tweet about academic Selman Öğüt, who is known to have close ties to the government.

Öğüt is the brother-in-law of Hilal Kaplan, a columnist for pro-government newspaper Sabah. He is also said to be one of the leading figures of the Pelican Group, an informal power group with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

In the January tweet, the artist commented on a post shared by Öğüt, referencing a common phrase from a funny YouTube video. “I swear that this child is stupid," the artist's tweet reads.

The artist's comment was in response to Öğüt's attempt to portray opposition leaders as if they are supporting terrorism. 

"In his [Öğüt's] tweet to which I made a reference, he tried to show different political party leaders as if they are supporting terrorism, who were supporting a campaign for children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), in a way that does not go together with his academic title," Dağüstün said in his testimony to prosecutors.

He also slammed his hastily-arranged detention, telling prosecutors that they have his contact information and could have notified him in advance to come to the courthouse for his testimony. 

After a four-hour-long detention, the artist was released.