Turkey man killed in fight 'over listening to music during Muslim call to prayer'

Turkey man killed in fight 'over listening to music during Muslim call to prayer'
The stabbing was initially thought to be a hate crime.
2 min read
02 June, 2020
Initial reports said Cakan was killed for listening to Kurdish music [Getty]
A man in the Turkish capital was stabbed to death on Saturday, reportedly because he confronted people who were listening to music during the Muslim call to prayer.

Initial reports of the killing of Baris Cakan described the stabbing as a hate crime, with the 20-year-old reportedly attacked by three people for listening to Kurdish music.

Relatives have since denied those reports, with Cakan's father Nihat telling the Evrensel daily that a fight had erupted after his son confronted three men who were playing music during the adhan, or Muslim call to prayer.

Some Muslims consider listening to music to be sinful, and it is considered disrespectful by some to speak or engage in other activities during the call to prayer.

"Those three people were in a car listening to music. The call to prayer was performed at the time," his father was quoted as saying by Duvar.

"My son's friend told them to turn the volume down due to the prayers. They said, 'Are you teaching me Islam?' in return and a fight erupted."

Both the interior ministry and Ankara governorate on Monday confirmed that Cakan was killed during an altercation after warning his attackers "not to listen to loud music".

Cakan's death had initially drawn comparisons with that of George Floyd, the black American whose death in police custody last week sparked mass protests across the United States.

The Kurdish Mezopotamya agency had reported Cakan was killed for listening to Kurdish music, drawing condemnations from Kurdish activists and pro-Kurdish politicians.

A number of past assaults and murders in Turkey have been attributed to speaking Kurdish in public.

Sirin Tosun, 19, was reportedly killed for speaking Kurdish in the northwestern province of Sakarya last year.

A year earlier in the same province, 43-year-old Kadir Sakci was shot dead, after some reports suggested it was due to him saying he was Kurdish.

Although Turkey has in some ways liberalised the treatment of the Kurdish population since current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rose to power nearly 20 years ago, the past six years have witnessed a severe deterioration in relations.

Many Kurdish-majority towns have been subject to months-long curfews and military campaigns with pro-Kurdish politicians dismissed and jailed.

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