Syrian musician Omar Souleyman has been arrested in Turkey on terrorism charges. They stem from his alleged relationship with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK).
Souleyman’s son Mohammad told a Syrian news outlet that the singer and DJ was taken into custody from his home in the province of Şanlıurfa. Authorities searched his home as well. The arrest was confirmed by the governor of Şanlıurfa’s office to the The Guardian.
The detainment is part of a larger crackdown on Turkish citizens. Under Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, tens of thousands of people have been detained on terrorist charges. Those arrested are suspected of being followers of cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the Turkish government believes was behind a 2016 coup attempt, and the PKK, which is designated a terror organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU.
Authorities detained Souleyman after receiving reports that he traveled to a territory controlled by a PKK ally, the YPG.
Souleyman, 55, is from the Hasekeh province on the border of Turkey. He is self-taught and rose to fame in his homeland as a wedding performer. He has recorded over 500 albums in Arabic and Kurdish which blend traditional Middle Eastern folk music with electronic music. He is billed at festivals around the globe and performed at the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.