What to make of Turkish pop star Gülşen's arrest?

Turkish pop diva Gülşen was detained on Friday and placed under house arrest on Monday. At a concert in April she had said jokingly about a member of her band that if he was perverted it was because he'd gone to a religious İmam Hatip school.

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Hürriyet (TR) /

Trust in law and justice further undermined

Gülşen's comment may have been disrespectful but it was not a criminal offence, Hürriyet writes in the singer's defence:

“Even if Gülşen's words were meant to be humorous, many people criticise them for having offended and humiliated those they were aimed at. ... At the same time, an overwhelming majority of society agrees that her arrest is legally excessive and unfair. Remarkably, voices condemning the artist's arrest are growing louder even among conservative circles that disapprove of her stance. ... As a consequence, Gülşen's arrest has only served to deepen the lack of trust in the law and the judicial system.”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Turkey has become an open-air prison

Gülşen's house arrest is symptomatic of conditions in the country, Cumhuriyet laments:

“Not just Gülşen but all of us are under house arrest! ... We can no longer even dress as we like, none of us. We were supposed to benefit from freedom of religion and conscience, weren't we? Now exactly the opposite has happened. ... We no longer even have the freedom to eat healthily. ... Because due to faulty economic policy our money has become worthless. ... Turkey is locking itself up. It has become a half-open prison, with its mediocre minds that have not found a way to escape, the artists it has locked up in their homes and the writers, illustrators, architects, lawyers and the young people it has put in prison.”