Turkish police arrest eight wedding musicians for singing in Kurdish - agency

Turkish gendarmes arrested eight Kurdish wedding musicians on Friday on charges of terrorist propaganda for singing songs in Kurdish, the Kurdish news agency Mezopotamya said.

The use of Kurdish in various aspects of life was subject to a series of bans in Turkey since the republic was established in 1923. Despite most of the bans, reinstated after the 1980 military coup, being lifted in 1991, it is still illegal for Kurdish to be used as a medium of instruction in schools. 

Police and prosecutors, however, have often interpreted the use of Kurdish as tantamount to support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting security forces in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast since 1984. Turkey, the United States and the European Union all list the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

The eight musicians, from two different bands were arrested in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, Mezopotamya said. The gendarmerie operates as a rural police force.