ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Turkish authorities this week arrested and then jailed a singer for lyrics that contained the word 'Kurdistan' on the grounds it was propaganda for a "terrorist" organization.
Jiyan, the vocalist for the music band "Rosîda" (the day has given way to shadows) was singing for a crowd at a Monday rally for the opposition's Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), held in the Patnos district of the Kurdish province of Agri. The country heads to polls on Sunday to elect a new Parliament and President.
Jin news, an all-women Kurdish news agency, wrote that police arrested Jiyan after she sang and a prosecutor on Tuesday deemed her detention pending trial "necessary."
She was sent to a prison in Patnos.
An HDP lawmaker, Adem Geveri, representing the neighboring province of Van, condemned the singer's incarceration and called it "another disgrace" for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
"How come the AKP, after this, will have the nerve to demand votes from the people of Agri? Is your election propaganda banning the words Kurd, Kurdish, Kurdistan? I strongly condemn this despicable racist mindset," Geveri tweeted.
"Jiyan must be released now!"
A presenter, Ali Umran Daskaya, who addressed the crowd at the event, was also arrested for saluting "martyrs of democracy" -presumably the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels fallen in a decades-long conflict with Turkish government forces for self-rule and recognition of cultural rights.
Authorities charged him with "terrorist propaganda," but decided on his conditional release.
In another case reflecting Ankara's crackdown on free speech, a translator studying at Istanbul's Bogazici University found herself the target of prosecutors after having translated three news tweets on Turkey's invasion of the Afrin canton in Syrian Kurdistan.
"Hello, I am a translator, and I am on trial," Sebla Kucuk tweeted on Wednesday.
Kucuk could face up to five years of imprisonment as prosecutors indicting her at a penal court in Istanbul argued her translations on Twitter of two Reuters headlines and a post by a foreign journalist about the Turkish assault on Afrin constituted "PKK propaganda."
Editing by Nadia Riva