Bodies of women killed in Iran air crash return to Turkey

A private jet crashed in Iran while returning from a pre-wedding party in the UAE. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 March 2018
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Bodies of women killed in Iran air crash return to Turkey

ISTANBUL: The bodies of 10 of the 11 women killed when a private jet crashed in Iran while returning from a pre-wedding party in the UAE returned to Turkey on Wednesday, a tragedy that shocked Turks.
The women attended the hen party of Mina Basaran, the daughter of Turkish businessman Huseyin Basaran, and were returning home when the private jet crashed into the Zagros mountains.
Mina Basaran, 28, and many of her seven girlfriends who accompanied her on the trip had successful careers with some already starting families. The disaster prompted an outpouring of grief in Turkey.
The other three of the 11 killed, all women, were the two pilots and a flight attendant.
Ten bodies were flown back to Istanbul airport from Iran aboard a Turkish military jet, the Dogan news agency said.
The families of the dead were meanwhile flown home on a scheduled Turkish Airlines flight, it added.
The body of co-pilot Beril Gebes has yet to be recovered, it said, after previous reports said all had been found.
Iranian Legal Medicine Organization confirmed that 10 of the women had been identified. “One of the cadaver bags contained remains which belonged to other 10 bodies. One body is still missing,” it said.
Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said the plane crashed after a technical problem whose origin remains unknown.
Turkish media reports said Mina Basaran was to marry her fiance Murat Gezer on April 14 at the Ciragan Saray, an Ottoman-era palace by the Bosphorus and one of Turkey’s most prominent wedding venues.
Photographs reprinted from social media showed the eight women lounging at a resort in the UAE and posing with the two pilots inside the plane.
The Basaran Holding company of Mina’s father Huseyin is active in the energy, construction and tourism sectors. Mina had become a board member in 2013.


After years of silence, music fills streets of Iraq’s Mosul

Renowned Iraqi maestro and cello player Karim Wasfi performs in Mosul’s war-ravaged Old City on November 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2018
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After years of silence, music fills streets of Iraq’s Mosul

  • The city even has its own special genre of Arabic ballads, recognized across Iraq and beyond
  • Tahsin Haddad, who heads the local artists’ syndicate, said he is keen to support public arts across the province

MOSUL: For centuries, it was a magnet for artists across the region and churned out Iraq’s best musicians — but recent years saw Mosul suffer a devastating musical purge.
For three years until last summer, the sprawling northern city was under the brutal rule of the Daesh group.
In imposing a city-wide ban on playing or even listening to music, the jihadists smashed and torched instruments.
“It was impossible to bring my instrument with me whenever I left the house,” said city resident Fadel Al-Badri, who hid his precious violin from the rampaging fighters.
Foreshadowing IS’ repression, the 2000s saw Al-Qaeda and other groups impose an ultra-conservative interpretation of Islam in several districts of the city.
But with Mosul freed from the grip of IS in July 2017, Iraq’s second city is embarking on a musical comeback.
“After the liberation, songs are back where they truly belong in Mosul,” said Badri, welcoming the return of evening celebrations and festivals.
The 45-year old violinist now has the pleasure of playing in public once more to an audience that claps hands and sings along to traditional local tunes.

Mosul has a rich musical history.
It is the home city of Ziryab, a musician who introduced the oud — the oriental lute popular across the Arab world — to Europe in the 9th century.
One of its more recent musical prodigies is Kazem Al-Saher, the Iraqi crooner-turned-talent judge known around the region.
The city even has its own special genre of Arabic ballads, recognized across Iraq and beyond.
From folkloric shows and philharmonic concerts to weddings and other national holidays, song and dance have traditionally filled the streets and surrounding air.
But that meant nothing to IS, which ravaged Mosul’s heritage — musical and otherwise — when it took the city as part of a lightning offensive across Iraq in 2014.
The jihadists began by destroying the statue of celebrated ballad virtuoso Mulla Uthman Al-Mosuli, and then turned their attention to destroying instruments across the city.
IS also forced musicians in Mosul to sign a pledge that they would never play or sing again, which was then posted in public places like mosques.
Singer Ahmed Al-Saher, 33, said it was humiliating.
“I couldn’t leave Mosul after they made me sign because of my sick mother. I had to stay here under all that pressure and fear of the unknown,” he recalled.
Ordinary residents, as well as musicians, are keen to celebrate the return of artistic freedom.
“Terrorism failed in killing Mosulites’ love for art in all forms. It’s been born again, despite the destruction,” said Amneh Al-Hayyali.
The 38-year-old brought her husband, son, and daughter to watch a late-night concert in a cultural center in east Mosul.
“Today, after the dark era of beheadings, lashings, beards and veils being imposed on us... we sing,” she said.

But bringing Mosul’s artistic scene back to its former heyday will not be easy.
Tahsin Haddad, who heads the local artists’ syndicate, said he is keen to support public arts across the province.
“But we are in huge need of support from the central government in Baghdad, especially because Mosul currently has no stages, movie theaters, or art spaces,” he told AFP.
Without these venues, artists play in local cafes and public squares.
Celebrated Iraqi musician Karim Wasfi recently performed in a Mosul park where IS once infamously trained its child soldiers.
Earlier this month, Iraqi artists from around the country swarmed to the city for a cultural festival at Mosul University.
Performers stomped the dabkeh — a traditional Arabic line dance — and painters brought their works to display on the campus.
Glamorous Iraqi artist Adiba traveled from Baghdad with an entourage of peers.
“I am so happy to be in Mosul, singing here after it was freed from the grip” of IS, she said, moments before stepping on stage.
“Artists — Iraqi, Arab, foreign — should all come play festivals here.”