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Man detained in Turkey for hanging out Union Jack towel from balcony

People usually drape Turkish flags from homes on national holiday 

Zoe Tidman
Thursday 21 May 2020 09:24 BST
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A man has been detained for hanging a towel with a UK flag from a balcony while others display Turkish flags during a national holiday
A man has been detained for hanging a towel with a UK flag from a balcony while others display Turkish flags during a national holiday (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A man has been detained after hanging a towel with the Union Jack from a building in Turkey during a public holiday, officials have said.

Neighbours had complained to authorities displaying the UK flag was a provocative act.

The detained man – who is an Iranian national – had draped the towel from a building in the central Turkish city of Kayseri.

He defended himself by saying he was drying his wet towel, the local governor's office said.

Authorities were alerted about the UK flag on the national holiday Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day, which people in Turkey celebrate on 19 May.

The day commemorates the start of Turkey’s War of Independence in 1919 against forces in the country, including Britain, following the First World War.

Celebrations take place around the country to mark the event, including state ceremonies, signing the national anthem and draping Turkish flags from windows and balconies.

The Kayseri governor's office said people spotted a "foreign flag" from the balcony of a nearby building in the central city on Tuesday evening.

They were commemorating the national holiday by signing the national anthem when they noticed the Union Jack, the office said.

Authorities were then alerted about the flag from the balcony in Kayseri, and the Iranian national detained over the incident.

Neighbours clapped and cheered as police escorted away the detained man, according to local media reports.

Turkey celebrated Youth and Sports Day while fifteen provinces - including Istanbul - were under a four-day lockdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

The country has opted to impose short weekend curfews instead of full lockdowns, fearing their possible negative effects on the already troubled economy.

People under 20 and above 65 have been stuck at home for weeks, although they are now allowed to leave for a few hours on allotted days.

More than 152,500 people have been infected with Covid-19 in Turkey, according to a Reuters global count.

Meanwhile, the death toll stood at 4,222 on Thursday.

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