Their arrest late on Saturday came after top Turkish officials slammed the poster, displayed at an exhibition in Turkey’s most prestigious Bogazici University. For weeks, students and faculty have been protesting the Turkish president’s appointment of a new rector with links to his ruling party and clashes have broken out with police.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu tweeted that “LGBT perverts” had been detained for “disrespecting the Great [Kaaba].”
Top government officials from Turkey’s conservative, Islamic-based ruling party condemned the poster, AP reported.
The poster placed a mythical creature of half-woman and half-snake found in Middle Eastern folklore on the site of worship along with the flags. The text below said the “artwork” was a critique of traditional gender roles.
Istanbul’s governor office said five people were initially detained and police were seeking two more suspects. One person was released, two put under house arrest and two were jailed, pending trial.
Meanwhile, the hashtag “Kabe Kutsalımızdır” (the Kaaba is our sacred) has been widely circulated on social media by Turkish users in recent days.