The mayor of Bilecik’s İnhisar district  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.

According to the Birgün daily, Ayhan Ödübek 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.

Ödübek was given 3 years, 9 months and 14 days in prison by a Bilecik 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.

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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