Last weekend in the heart of Istanbul, a group of young Heavy Metal fans were arrested by Turkey's Prime Minister's bodyguards and police officers. They ended up spending an entire day in the Police Department and were sent to Prosecutor's Office the next day. Their crime: Being disrespectful to a Statesman!
I am not joking. The issue came up when Turkey's pro-Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a speech in his party's local rallies. He said "Unfortunately we are witnessing a rampant immorality among young people. If parents do not watch over them they end up getting married to drummers" (This is a local Turkish joke, subject of another long analysis).
Apparently, the Prime Minister's entourage was driving by a Rock Festival in Istanbul. It was called Unirock and hundreds of Heavy Metal fans were getting ready to enter the concert grounds while listening to music and headbanging and making usual hand gestures of heavy metalists.
After seeing such immoral(!) inappropriate, disrespectful behavior, Turkey's devout and pious Premier got so upset and so sad that his black suited, bodyguards immediately jumped off their black SUV's to arrest a group of three guys and a young women.
Yusuf Sengul, among the ones arrested told this to Milliyet newspaper after 21 hours in detention:
"We asked why we were taken to the Police, the bodyguards told us 'you will see when you get there'. There they forced us to listen to Pop Music. Idil, our girlfriend who was taken to a separate police detention center was forced to listen to mystic religious hymns. The next day the prosecutor questioned us and even asked us about our political views. We told him we voted for the opposition party CHP."
This is happening in a country ruled by a party so obsessed with anything Western and secular, that the Prime Minister himself easily forgets he was jailed for citing a poem. So much for Mr. Erdogan's democracy. If he can not even tolerate a group of Heavy Metal fans, what sort of a "Leader of the Muslim World" does he aspire to be? Even Ahmedinejad would be ashamed of this.
So rockers, please beware. Come and have fun in Istanbul, but pay attention to your gestures. You may end up in a Turkish Police Detention Center.
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