A Turkish court handed pop star Gulsen a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison for incitement to hatred and hostility over a remark she made on stage about religious schools, state-owned Anadolu Agency reported on Wednesday.
The singer-songwriter, whose full name is Gulsen Colakoglu, was briefly jailed last year in August after a video of her comments from four months earlier surfaced on a website of a pro-government newspaper a day earlier.
“He studied at an Imam Hatip (school) previously. That’s where his perversion comes from,” Gulsen says in a light-hearted manner in the video, referring to a musician in her band.
She had said she had made a joke with colleagues during an April performance and apologised to anyone offended, adding her words were seized upon by some to polarise society.
She was released several days later, after being arrested on a charge of incitement to hatred.
Her arrest had sparked outrage, with critics saying that she was targeted for her support for LGBT+ rights and liberal views that go against President Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party.
An Istanbul court on Wednesday handed Gulsen a suspended sentence of 10 months in prison, Anadolu reported. The suspended sentence means that Gulsen will not serve prison time unless she is not convicted of another charge again within five years.
Erdogan, whose AK Party first came to power nearly two decades ago, himself studied at one of the country’s first Imam Hatip schools, religious institutions which were founded by the state to educate young men to be imams and preachers.