To all of Metal Insider’s international readers and world travelers, this is a public service announcement: don’t throw up your metal unless you’re prepared to go to jail for it. The Irish Times reports that five metal fans in town for the Rock N’ Coke Festival (that sounds like a party!) last weekend saluted a convoy passing by on the street, and a man in dark glasses rolled down a tinted window, asking them what the hell they were doing.
“The tinted windows of one of the cars opened and a guy in dark glasses shouted ‘what the hell are you doing’,” says Yusuf Sengul, who was attending the first day of a heavy metal festival with his friends. Five minutes later, the men in black came back with police, bundled Sengul and four others into cars and took them to a police station.
“They said they were acting on the orders of the prime minister,” Sengul remembers. “We were laughing. We thought it was a joke.” But it wasn’t. Accused of “disrespect of a senior official”, the five youngsters spent the rest of the day and night being taken from one police station to another.
Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan was quoted the next day as saying “I unfortunately saw the state of some of our young people, and it was depressing. This endless uncontrolled moral erosion is really worrying.”
Sengul and his four friends were released without charge after 21 hours in custody, but only after they were handcuffed, fingerprinted, questioned and forced to listen to classical Turkish music and pop. NOOO! Anything but Turkish pop!
The story took on new legs once the press got ahold of it and spun it politically. According to the article, Erdogan is a former Islamist heading up a “conservative democrat” party. On July 27, Erdogan’s opposition, the Republican People’s Party, held a press conference with two of the fans condemning what happened. It’s pretty interesting that a hand signal invented by Dio (or Gene Simmons) and appropriated by everyone from Avril Lavigne to George W. Bush is at the center of an international conversation about politics. And hey, Sengul even mentions in the Irish Times article that he’s a Kreator fan.