Cellist is beaten by Turkish police as terror suspect

Cellist is beaten by Turkish police as terror suspect


norman lebrecht

August 04, 2017

The Turkish cellist Gülşah Erol was arrested at Kadıköy Metro Station accused of keeping a bomb in her cello case.

She was handcuffed, locked in a room and beaten up.



Erol writes: ‘I was battered by two police officers on August 2. They declared my instrument a bomb and me a terrorist and closed me in a room. I was handcuffed and punched and kicked several times. They hit in my face with Turkish flag. They were telling me ‘We are citizens of this country’, what about me? When I told them I was a musician, please be careful about my arms and hands, they hit harder. They said that the people like me should leave the country, we are traitors. They threatened me with sending me to jail. They insulted my family. I didn’t put the photos of the damages in my body because they look horrible. I am a musician! I am an artist who labor for this country. Is this what I deserve?! My whole body aches but mostly my heart. I could have died yesterday…’




  • Bruce says:

    How awful.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Terrible. Surely Erdogan must be in Trump’s telescopic sight since the latter is ever so fond of authoritarians, the more ruthless the better.

  • Quincy says:

    Trump recently encouraged the police to be more brutal with “suspects”. The U.S. is now in the same league as Turkey and other fascist dictatorships where innocent until proven guilty no longer exists. In the U.S. Many unarmed citizens are shot dead with total impunity on the side of the police. So, perhaps Turkey is actually better in this respect. In any case, they both represent undemocratic nations where police brutality and injustice are the norm. I personally wouldn’t want to visit either and feel so sad for those that must live in such societies.

    • Violin says:

      She is not a suspect , just a tired cellist because of being checked 5 times a day all her life . It’s not what you try to see or you heard.

  • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

    Did she refuse to let the police check her case or what? It would be nice to hear the whole story an neutral third party.

    I just could not imagine how the police would attack her without any preceding incidents.

    • Tom Moore says:

      i think Analeck has led a sheltered life. Turkey has this reputation for decades.

      • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

        Oh, really? Incredible …
        Yes indeed. I have never been to Turkey. But there are travel advertisement about this country all over the streets. So I thought it must be a very nice place to visit.

        • Dave says:

          Yes, incredibly naive.

          • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

            At least all those Turkish immigrants here around the corner are a great cultural enrichment for west Europe, as they always said, right?

          • David Nice says:

            Try and grasp a more complex picture. Turkey is a country split – torn – roughly 50/50 between westward-looking folk and more conservative groups. Because not everything Ataturk did was good, a reaction has been waiting to happen. Visit Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara or the west coast and you will find friendly, charming, humorous people – and what you think of as civilization in abundance. I found kind company everywhere I went in Turkey, but that bigger trip was some time back so I can’t speak for the rest.

            This, of course, is awful, and endemic of Erdogan’s despotism, I fear.

    • Bruce says:

      Read more nonfiction.

    • Scotty says:

      They did check her case, and damaged the cello while they were at it.

      • Analeck Kram-Hammerbauer says:

        It sounds indeed very terrible. And the story told by Ms. Erol is even more besorgniserregend. I am wondering what the background of Ms. Erol is? Is she just an ordinary Turkish citizen living in Turkey, or an emigrant living in West Europe? Did she show off her status provocatively or even try to publicly promote the Western ideology in Turkey? Otherwise I can’t understand how the police could accuse her of being a traitor (in their own logic).

        • Bruce says:

          “Surely she must have done something to provoke the police” is a sentiment commonly put forward by those who are either ignorant of the way police work in an authoritarian state, or are aware of it and approve.

          • @Bruce
            So what do you think about Saddam, Gaddafi and Assad etc? Did they do anything to provoke the police?

            Isn’t it naive and arrogant to claim THEY are the evil authoritarian states, WE are the democratic freedom? But such delusion must be very self-satisfying …

          • Derek Williams says:


            Where in the West are cellists lawfully beaten up by border police?

          • @ Derek

            No! I didn’t say the police was right. For god’s sake! I just want to get a clearer picture of the whole story. You know, the truth is always multifaceted, and human memory is highly selective.

            Moreover, where in the world are sovereign states lawfully bombed and invaded by the police? The middle east?

          • Derek Williams says:


            No, I don’t know of any country whose police bomb other sovereign nations, lawfully or otherwise. That’s the role of the military, surely?

          • @ Derek

            Haven’t you heard about the “World Police”?

        • Musician says:

          She is a real Turkish Citizen and a great person. All of us are fed up because of being chrcked 5 times with our instrument cases and fed up being treated as terrorists. She is my friend since 15 years. It’s very natural to have anxiety after you’ve been treated as terrorist rather than as a musician all day long in your mother land . She just reacted aggresively maybe and she was tired with a huge cello case on her back and a hard Suitcase. Noone deserves to be punched many times and her instrument be destroyed even you respond rude. She is a very tiny woman by the way. No needed to be harmed by security or police. Their mission must be protect us , not desteoy or damage.
          Best regards.

  • Carlos Majlis says:

    They share with airlines the theory that all cellist are terrorist, and they should forbidden to take their instruments on the cabin.

  • Derek Williams says:

    I would never visit that part of the world, and I feel deeply sorry for people who live there, especially if they cannot escape.