Turkey jails politician over videos of song from mosques

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Authorities in Turkey’s western city of Izmir have detained an opposition politician after she shared videos of an Italian anti-fascist song being blared out of mosques’ loudspeakers instead of the call to prayer, the country’s state-run agency reported Friday.

The Turkish version of the song “Bella Ciao” was broadcast for a few minutes from several mosques in Izmir earlier this week, Turkish media reported. The incident, which occurred during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, caused outrage in the country.

Anadolu Agency said Banu Ozdemir, the main opposition party’s former deputy chairwoman for Izmir, was detained late on Thursday on suspicion of “provoking public enmity” by sharing videos of the incident on Twitter.

Ozdemir has denied any disrespect to religious values and said that she shared the videos because she wanted to draw attention to the incident.

Authorities say the system that broadcasts the calls to prayer in mosques in Izmir was “sabotaged” and are investigating who was behind the act.

The song, used by Italian left-wing partisans during World War II, is popular among left-wing groups in Turkey and is frequently played at their gatherings.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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