Omar Souleyman Released After Questioning in Turkey

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The Syrian singer had been detained on a “terrorist propaganda” charge, his lawyer told Agence France-Presse

Omar Souleyman singing
Omar Souleyman (Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Omar Souleyman was released from detention in Turkey this morning (November 19), after being questioned in relation to a “terrorist propaganda” charge, his lawyer told Agence France-Presse. Citing alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkish police arrested Souleyman on Wednesday in the city of Şanlıurfa, where he has been running a bakery since fleeing Syria’s civil war. Souleyman denies belonging to any militant group, his manager told Reuters.

Souleyman began his singing career as a wedding entertainer, before a record deal with Sublime Frequencies helped make him a global star and a staple of international music festivals. Four Tet’s Kieran Hebden produced his 2013 album Wenu Wenu and 2015’s Bahdeni Nami; Souleyman’s most recent album, 2019’s Shlon, was released on Diplo’s Mad Decent label.

In recent years, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party has mounted insurgent attacks against the Turkish government through methods including car bombs. Although Turkey, the United States, and the European Union have designated the nearly 50-year-old group as a terrorist organization, the PKK fits into a larger, more complicated struggle for Kurdish self-determination in the region.

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