Ahmet Yılmaz, a muhtar, or neighborhood administrator who allegedly intervened in Sala prayers recited by a local imam in order to encourage people into streets during the night of July 15, 2016 coup attempt, has been arrested by a Turkish court.

Sala is a religious call read to announce a funeral ceremony at mosques while it used to be issued to announce difficult times at wars during Ottoman era as well.

Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) called on some 110,000 imams across the country to loudly read Sala prayers through minarets in bid to mobilize citizens against the coup attempt, late July 15.

According to the Diken daily, Yılmaz, the head of the Musababa neighborhood in Düzce is accused of forcibly silencing an Imam while reciting Sala to call civilians to take to the streets to fight against soldiers attempting to overthrow the government.

The last two times that the ezan and the sela were incanted outside of ritual time occurred before the Republic of Turkey’s boundaries were established in 1923. During World War I, as the British and French laid siege to Istanbul at the Battle of Gallipoli, Ottomans heard the ezan and the sela sounding across the Marmara Sea.

In 1922, Greek soldiers retreating from Anatolia ostensibly left the port city of Izmir with recitations ringing in their ears. In both cases, the ezan and sela were used to marshal Ottoman Muslims to defend their communities.

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