Syrian singer Souleyman detained in Turkey on terrorism charges

Turkish police on Wednesday detained celebrated Syrian singer Omar Souleyman and questioned him about alleged ties to outlawed Kurdish militants, his manager told AFP.

Souleyman was brought in for questioning in the southern Turkish city of Şanlıurfa, where he has been running a bakery since escaping Syria’s decade-long civil war in 2011, said the manager, who asked not to be identified.

Souleyman was being questioned over local media allegations that he had ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and EU.

The PKK has been waging a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state that has claimed tens of thousands of lives.

The manager said he expected Souleyman to be released later on Wednesday.

But Turkish media said Souleyman was detained on an arrest warrant issued for “membership of a terrorist organization,” a charge that has seen tens of thousands jailed across Turkey in the past decade.

Souleyman has won international recognition for his melodic mix of dance and folk music, collaborating with artists such as Bjork and the Blur’s frontman Damon Albarn.

He performed at a Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo in December 2013 and starred in a benefit concert at the prestigious South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, earlier that year.

The official video for his 2013 song “Warni Warni” has received nearly 95 million views on YouTube.

Local administration officials in Şanlıurfa did not immediately respond to a request for comment from AFP.

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