Man is arrested for hanging out a towel showing the British flag from his balcony in Turkey
- The Iranian national was arrested after neighbours complained about his flag
- He was led away to cheers but insisted he had been harmlessly drying the towel
- It was a national holiday in Turkey on which people often hang Turkish flags
Turkish police have arrested a man for hanging a towel emblazoned with the Union Jack out of his balcony.
The man was led away to cheers from nearby residents who had complained that the flag was a provocative act on a Turkish public holiday.
The Iranian national, named in local media as Mohammad Reza K, insisted that the towel was inoffensive and that he was merely drying it.
Hanging the Turkish flag from windows and balconies is common on the May 19 Youth and Sports Day which marks the start of Turkey’s War of Independence in 1919.
A Union Jack towel – similar to that which caused outrage on a Turkish national holiday yesterday – hangs from a balcony in this file photo
The man is said to have hung the towel from a fifth-floor balcony in Kayseri, a city of 1.4million people in central Turkey.
Outraged nearby residents saw the flag from their balconies and reported it to police, according to Turkish media.
Footage showed the man being led into a police car at the foot of one of the apartment blocks while others cheered and applauded.
The governor’s office in Kayseri said the ‘necessary legal procedures’ had been initiated after the man was arrested.
It is not clear what crime the man was accused of committing, but the UK’s Foreign Office warns that it is an offence to ‘insult the Turkish nation or the national flag’.
Anyone who breaks those rules could face a prison sentence from six months up to three years, officials warn.
The May 19 celebrations also commemorate the country’s founder Kemal Ataturk, who led Turkey to independence and became its first president in 1923.
People hang Turkish flags from their balconies to celebrate the national Youth and Sports Day holiday yesterday – but a British flag in Kayseri caused offence