A district governor’s office in Turkey banned a concert of a Kurdish culture and arts organisation in Istanbul on Saturday, claiming that the event “will cause disruption of public order and general security”.
Following the governor’s decision to ban the concert, musicians of the Mezopotamya Cultural Center (MKM) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Musa Piroğlu, along with a group of citizens gathered in front of the performance centre in Küçükçekmece district, where the concert was planned to be held.
The police attacked the group and detained 25 people, according to Kurdish media. The detainees are being held in the Istanbul police headquarters.
“The government’s animosity against Kurds and the Kurdish language continues,” said Piroğlu after the arrests. “They cannot silence us by bans, they cannot stop halay dances,” he added, referring to a folkloric dance commonly performed by several ethnicities in Turkey.
MKM announced on its social media account that the concert will be held on Saturday evening at the HDP’s Bağcılar district headquarters instead.
Several Kurdish musicians from Turkey and Iran are expected to perform in the concert “Em ê Bêjin” [We are going to sing]. The concert will include some songs which were originally in Kurdish but have been translated into Turkish and presented as Turkish songs as a part of Turkish state’s assimilation policies, the organisers told Yeni Yaşam newspaper this week.
Turkish officials have been using bans over arts and culture events in recent years as a tool for oppressing the opposition, particularly those associated to the Kurdish political movement.