Turkish actor Atay released after a brief detention due to critical tweet

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Turkish actor Barış Atay, known for his critical views of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government, was detained by police on Wednesday morning following a raid on his home in İstanbul and released in the evening, as his lawyer tweeted.

“They have finally succeeded in detaining @barisatay. Since when has it become a crime to tell somebody that if they don’t stand trial, you won’t forgive them?” lawyer Efkan Bolaç tweeted Wednesday morning.

Bolaç said the police officers who came to Atay’s door told him there was a detention warrant out for him to due one of his tweets.

Last week, Atay criticized Yusuf Yerkel, a former advisor to then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, who apologized four years after he on camera kicked a relative of one of the victims of a mine accident in the Soma district of Manisa province in 2014. A total of 301 miners died in the accident.

“You will all weep when you apologize. When that day comes, we will not forget those who forgave them, who pitied them and who abandoned their trials. It is not going to be a case of ‘spending days of retirement with the grandchildren, we are sisters and brothers, and we don’t want any fighting.’ Everything is starting from square one. You will give an accounting of what you have done to this country and its people,” Atay had tweeted.

Atay’s detention came one day after Hürriyet daily columnist Ahmet Hakan in his column called on the presidential candidates of the opposition parties, Muharrem İnce and Meral Akşener, to bring Atay into line, claiming that Atay represents a mentality that is out for revenge, fighting and unrest.

Hakan attracted widespread criticism for targeting Atay in his column.

In remarks shortly after his detention, Atay said through his lawyer that Hakan’s message reached its destination.

In the meantime, a play starring Atay named “Just Dictator” was banned across Turkey in January. “’Just Dictator’ shows what we have been facing. They [the government] show it to us in practice. You won’t see any play that is better than the reality,” Atay said, speaking to a crowd in front of the Ahmet Hamdi Tanpınar Cultural Center in Artvin in January.

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