Turkish police detained a group of young people in Istanbul’s Kadıköy neighborhood on Sunday to listen to Kurdish music, igniting a wave of public outrage. The incident took place in Moda Park, where four young Kurdish men were enjoying Kurdish music and dancing a traditional halay, a popular folk dance, before police confiscated their loudspeakers.
As tensions escalated between the youths and the police, an officer fired shots into the air, causing the frightened youths to flee. Subsequently, the police chased and arrested the young people who tried to escape. Citizens in the neighborhood expressed outrage at the police during the incident.
Later footage showing the police forcing the four detained Kurds listen to Mehter Anthem, an Ottoman military march while lying face down on the ground in handcuffs, sparked outrage on social media. Turkish law stipulates that reverse handcuffing cannot happen without good reason or for long periods of time.
Subsequently, there were several hours of concern for the four detained Kurdish men, as there was no information about where they had been taken. But according to the Mesopotamya Agency, they were detained transferred to a court in the borough on Monday morning.
The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long faced criticism for cracking down on dissent and restricting civil liberties, and its crackdown on the Kurds has intensified, particularly in the run-up to Turkey’s critical elections.