The Kurdish-language play “Bêrû: Klakson, Borîzan û Birt” was included in the October programme of the İstanbul Municipality City Theatre. Due to be staged by Teatra Jiyana Nû (New Life Theatre), it was banned on the grounds that it could “disturb the general public order”.
The governor banned the Kurdish-language play that was due to be performed on Tuesday in İstanbul’s municipal theatre for the first time in its 106-year history. “Bêrû: Klakson, Borîzan û Birt” was translated into Kurdish from “Trumpets and Raspberries”, a piece of work by Nobel Literature Prize winner Dario Fo, an Italian playwright.
The decision was announced by the local administration in Gaziosmanpaşa and the theatre was only informed hours before the play was due to be performed. The order was based upon the request of İstanbul’s Police Department. The reason cited was that the play could “disrupt public order”.
The Deputy Minister of the Interior, İsmail Çataklı, defended the ban by stating: “Another lie and provocation. Kurdish theatre is, of course, free.
However, theatre that contains the propaganda of the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers Party) terrorist organization is not allowed, whether it is in Kurdish, Turkish or Arabic”.
İstanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya also stated: “Gaziosmanpaşa District Governorship has banned the play and performance not because it is in Kurdish, but because it contains PKK propaganda. The judicial process on the issue has been initiated”.
“They thought Dario Fo was a member of the PKK”
Cihat Ekinci, one of the actors in ”Bêrû”, reacted to the statements of the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and the Istanbul Governor. Ekinci told Mesopotamia Agency (MA): ”What happened was completely black humour. They thought Dario Fo was a member of the PKK or they thought he was Kurdish! It is a situation that turns into comedy after a decision like this. They haven’t even read the play. The play examines the nature of capital-power relationships”. He stated that the main reason for the decision was intolerance of the Kurdish language, culture and arts.