Probe opened after mosques blare ‘Bella Ciao’ from minarets in Turkey’s west
The Italian resistance song Bella Ciao’s Turkish version was broadcast from several mosque minarets in the Aegean province of İzmir.
Residents in İzmir’s Konak, Karşıyaka, Çiğli and Buca districts were stunned by the unexpected “call for prayer” experience as they shared videos of the incident on social media.
Some social media users claimed that this could have been a political action after the version of the song voiced by the Turkish protest music band Grup Yorum.
Some of them labelled the incident as a provocation, citing the holy month of Ramadan.
İzmir Provincial Religious Directorate initially denied reports of such a broadcast by issuing a statement on its social media account, however, it later removed this post.
“According to our initial analysis, unidentified people sabotaged our central adhan [call to prayer] system in an illegal way,” the directorate said in a second statement.
The directorate also said that an internal investigation was launched into the incident.
Meanwhile, prosecutors in İzmir have launched a criminal investigation into people suspected of infiltrating the central audio system and those extolling the incident on social media.
The investigation was launched ex officio, on the basis of the crime of “publicly degrading religious values” about those who shared the action from social media accounts with “praiseworthy and supportive” expressions, according to reports.
The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also instructed the security, public security and anti-cybercrimes units of the police department in order to detain the suspects whose identities are unknown.
Mosques throughout Turkey have been reciting a chapter of the Quran and supplications daily since March to “boost morale” during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move follows a decision by the country’s top religious body, the Religious Affairs Presidency (Diyanet).
Bella Ciao is an Italian protest folk song which was modified and adopted as an anthem of resistance by the Italian partisans during World War II.