Turkish man accused of wife beating in NZ 'was dancing'

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A Turkish man accused of beating his wife has told a court in New Zealand they were actually performing a traditional dance.

Allaetin Can said witnesses mistook the dance for domestic violence as it involved moves that resemble punches, kicks, slaps and choking.

The dance, named the kolbasti, is thought to have been first performed by drunks in a Black Sea resort town.

The name translates as "caught red-handed by the police".

Mr Can said he and his wife Elmas were dancing outside his family's kebab shop in Hawera on New Zealand's North Island, to celebrate a good day's takings when a passer-by called the police.

He pleaded not guilty to an assault charge.

"We're always dancing, I'm happy to dance with my wife and family, but people here understand fighting not dancing," he told New Zealand media outside the court.

The trial judge has instructed police to view a video of the kolbasti before deciding if charges should be dropped.