ISTANBUL (Kurdistan 24) - Turkish authorities on Friday released the Iranian Kurdish singer Yalda Abbasi 15 hours after arresting her at Istanbul Ataturk Airport and a court hearing that followed.
One of five lawyers who signed up to defend her at Istanbul Bakirkoy courthouse, Murat Aksa, told a Kurdistan 24 TV correspondent that there was a "terror-related" case against Abbasi over songs she performed years ago in Turkey.
Abbasi's mother, who accompanied her on Friday, told Kurdistan 24 that at the time of the arrest she had just flown from the Italian city of Milan where she studies at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory.
The singer herself refused to speak, apologized, and said she would let her lawyer explain why the Turks detained her since she had a cold.
Lawyer Aksa said Turkish interrogators asked Abbasi about some songs she sang at a May 2012 event organized by the bar association in the Kurdish city of Van in Turkey.
"The investigation launched by Turkish prosecutors in Van goes on. There is a judicial confidentiality order on the file, so I am not at liberty to discuss it further. Although, in our view, the case against [Abbasi] is unlawful and bogus," Aksa said.
"The songs she sang cannot be a crime. We will continue to follow the case and defend her. It seems she was arrested because she is a Kurd and sings in Kurdish." he continued, referring to the political environment that is increasingly intolerant of expression of identity and demands for civil rights.
Abbasi's mother added that her daughter's social media posts in support of the Afrin region in Syrian Kurdistan which Turkey invaded earlier this year were among the causes for charges brought against the singer.
A quick look at Abbasi's Twitter and Instagram pages showed that she had posted pictures of female Kurdish fighters in past months and shared posts condemning Turkey's invasion and war crimes such as the killing of civilians and other human rights violations in occupied Afrin.
During the January-March 2018 Turkish war on Afrin, an area defended by US-backed Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State, the administration of President Tayyip Erdogan arrested and jailed hundreds of people. Among them were politicians and academics, detained for protesting both on the street and online.
Songs and social media posts have been used by the Turkish judiciary as evidence of "terrorist propaganda" or "membership in a terror group."
Abbasi, who hails from Iran's eastern North Khorasan Province, is scheduled to perform at an annual Kurdish music festival held by the Mesopotamia Cultural Center in Istanbul on Sunday night.
Editing by John J. Catherine
(Kurdistan 24 correspondent Azad Altun in Istanbul contributed to this report.)