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Omar Souleyman Has Been Detained In Turkey
Christian Eede , November 17th, 2021 19:50

It reportedly follows a raid on the Syrian artist's house in the city of Urfa

UPDATE [19/11/21]: Omar Souleyman has now been released from custody without charge in Turkey.

Speaking on November 19, the Syrian artist's management confirmed that he "was detained [on Wednesday, November 17] on suspicion of belonging to / collaborating with the PKK [Kurdistan Workers' Party] / YPG [People's Defense Units] because of a recent trip to Syria," but is now free without any further action. "In Turkey, I'm afraid to say, this is pretty routine," his management added.

The artist is one of tens of thousands of Turkish residents who have recently been detained on suspicion of relations with the Turkish-founded PKK and Syrian group YPG due to president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's crackdown on alleged followers of the cleric Fethullah Gülen, who was blamed by Turkish authorities for a failed coup attempt in 2016. The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the UK and the US, while the YPG, its Syrian affiliate, has been a key partner in the West's ongoing conflict with Islamic State in Syria.

Omar Souleyman has been detained in Turkey, as per a story by Turkish news outlet Kronos.

The Syrian artist, real name Omar Almasikh, was reportedly arrested during a raid by local officials at his home in the southeastern Turkish city of Urfa, which he relocated to several years ago following the breakout of the Syrian civil war. Pointing to misinformation in reports from some media outlets, Almasikh's management confirmed to tQ that he had been detained in Urfa, and said that more information surrounding the exact circumstances of the arrest would be made available in the coming hours.

Kronos' report states that Almasikh had been accused of being a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, AKA PKK, with the artist having long expressed solidarity with the struggle of the Kurdish people, but this is as yet unconfirmed by his management. The report also says that Almasikh was given a health check in his home town of Karaköprü upon being detained, before leaving hospital to be questioned elsewhere.

As Omar Souleyman, Almasikh, whose music explores the traditional dabke sound, has released records through labels such as Monkeytown, Mad Decent and The Trilogy Tapes. He's also worked with the likes of Four Tet and Modeselektor.

tQ will update this story as more information is directly confirmed by Almasikh's management