Tea house in Turkey’s Erzurum temporarily closed over Kurdish-language song

A tea house in Turkey’s eastern province of Erzurum was banned due to Kurdish-language songs played in the café, according to media.

Mezopotamya news agency reported on Tuesday that a tea house in Erzurum’s Karaçoban district was raided by police and military officers and later shuttered for 10 days effective immediately. The reason for the closure is that Kurdish-language songs were played and Kurdish was used during conversations in the café, according to owner Hindistan Beyazduman.

“The pressure has soared ever since I allowed pro-Kurdish People Democratic Party (HDP) to use my café as their office during elections. Police have raided the café several times. Only two months ago, it was raided again and I was detained. The reason is the same. They came early in the morning along with police and special forces officers. They got everything except a helicopter. …There is no heroin or arm in my café. There are teapots and tea. What else would you expect? To be clear, they carried out an operation against teapots,” Beyazduman said.

“Kurdish is not a forbidden language. It is not illegal to listen Kurdish songs either. People talk and sing in Kurdish language everywhere. They intend to ban our language. It is our mother tongue. We will speak it for sure,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kurdish journalist Mete Cem Bahtiyar was arrested pending trial over terror charges, according to a report by Özgürüz online news portal.

Detained following a police raid at his home in Balıkesir’s Bandırma district, Bahtiyar was put in pretrial detention on Jan 31, Özgürüz reported on Wednesday. Turkish police seized his computer, cellphone, and books including one by Noam Chomsky.

Bahtiyar is accused of making propaganda on behalf of a terror group with his social media posts and news articles, published by Birgun daily. “I used to work as a reporter for Birgun daily. The evidence for the accusations against me are the postings from the mentioned sources. I did not make propaganda for any terror organization and I don’t have membership to any group. I have not been actively working as a journalist for the past 3 years either,” Bahtiyar told during the court overseeing his case.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has showed that 245 journalists and media workers are in jails as of January 24, 2018, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 218 are arrested pending trial, only 27 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 140 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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