Turkish delight lands couple in court

2010-08-06 08:25

A Turkish immigrant has claimed that New Zealand police could not

tell the difference between fighting and dancing after he was charged with

assault while celebrating with his wife.

A judge has now told the police to go away and study a cultural

Turkish video showing the kolbasti dance before deciding whether to proceed with

the case.

Kebab shop owner Allaetin Can was arrested after a passer-by

reported he was hitting, kicking and strangling his wife outside their shop in

the North Island town of Hawera, the Taranaki Daily News reported.

But when he appeared in court, Can argued he and his wife, Elmas,

were merely performing the traditional Turkish dance kolbasti which, loosely

translated, means “caught red-handed by the police” and involves energetic


Can said he and his wife and two teenage children danced out of

their kebab shop into a car park after a particularly profitable lunch


“We’re always dancing. I’m happy to dance with my wife and my


What’s wrong with that?” he was quoted as saying in the report.

“People here understand fighting, not dancing. It’s our


The judge gave police two weeks to study a DVD of the kolbasti and

if they accepted the Cans were involved in an innocent dance, then the charge

would be withdrawn.

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