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Omar Souleyman arrested on terrorism charges

The Syrian artist has been detained following a raid on his Turkish home

  • Words: Gemma Ross | Photo: Tom Øverlie
  • 18 November 2021
Omar Souleyman arrested on terrorism charges

Syrian singer and electronic artist Omar Souleyman has been arrested on terrorism charges, according to Turkish news outlet Kronos.

Police raided Souleyman’s home in Urfa, Turkey, where they arrested and detained the singer on suspicion of being involved with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

It's unclear where the allegations against the 55-year-old singer came from at this point. Souleyman’s arrest is one of many among individuals accused of extremist links in recent years following a strict crackdown by president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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Turkish police have detained thousands of alleged followers of groups such as the PKK, which is classed as a terrorist group in the country, the UK, and further into Europe.

Souleyman currently resides in Urfa in Turkey which sits on the border of Syria, which he escaped after the Syrian war broke out. It’s believed the allegations against the singer were “malicious reports”, according to his son, who also added that his father has no political affiliations.

Known for his electronic take on traditional halay and dabke music, Souleyman is one of Syria’s most prominent musicians and was previously dubbed ‘the Middle East king of halay music’.

Souleyman, real name Omar Almasikh, has also worked with the likes of Four Tet, Gilles Peterson, Björk, Diplo, Gorillaz, and Damon Albarn.

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Agence France-Press have been told that Souleyman is currently being questioned over reports that the singer travelled to a native Syrian area of Turkey under control of PKK affiliates, the YPG.

According to Kronos, Souleyman has undergone a health check at the hospital before being questioned. He was detained earlier this week, although Souleyman’s manager reported yesterday that he may be released by the evening.

[Via Kronos]

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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