Omar Souleyman has been released from custody in Turkey following his arrest last Wednesday.
The Syrian artist was detained and questioned in relation to a “terrorism propaganda” charge following a recent trip to his native country. Citing alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and People’s Defense Units (YPG), Turkish police arrested Souleyman in the city of Şanlıurfa, where he has been living since fleeing Syria’s civil war in 2013.
Souleyman denied belonging to any militant group, his manager said, and he was subsequently released without any further action taken.
The artist is one of tens of thousands of Turkish residents who have recently been detained on suspicion of relations with the PKK, with president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launching a crackdown on the group and alleged followers of the cleric Fethullah Gülen, who was blamed by Turkish authorities for a failed coup attempt in 2016.
The PKK is considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the UK and the US, while the YPG, its Syrian affiliate, has been a key partner in the West’s ongoing conflict with Islamic State in Syria.
Souleyman began his singing career as a wedding entertainer in Syria, before a record deal with Sublime Frequencies helped him breakthrough internationally and become a regular at various music festivals. Four Tet produced his 2013 album ‘Wenu Wenu’, as well as 2015’s ‘Bahdeni Nami’. The artist’s most recent album, 2019’s ‘Shlon’, was released on Diplo’s Mad Decent label.