Syrian singer Omar Souleyman was arrested in Turkey on Wednesday (November 17th), according to Agence France-Presse. He was detained for questioning about alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkish media has reported Souleyman was detained on an arrest warrant issued for “membership of a terrorist organization.” This particular charge has led to the imprisonment of tens of thousands of people in Turkey over the past decade as president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has cracked down on the PKK, which is considered as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the UK, EU and US.
His manager told the news agency that Souleyman was brought in after a local media report claimed the musician had traveled to a region of Syria controlled by YPG, a local offshoot of the PKK. He is expected to be released sometime later today.
Although PKK has struck against the Turkish government through car bombs and other acts of insurgency in recent years, the group fits into a far more complex struggle for Kurdish self-determination.
Souleyman’s son Muhammad told a Syrian news outlet that his father was taken into custody by officers who searched his home in the province of Şanlıurfa. Muhammad added that his father has no political affiliations.
The self-taught musician is an Arab Syrian who left the country after the civil war broke out a decade ago. Souleyman became famous in his homeland as a wedding singer before breaking out as an international techno star who’s worked with luminaries such as Björk, Four Tet, and Damon Albarn. His most recent album is 2019’s Shlon.