After a police intervention on Kurdish street musicians in Istanbul, Turkey, an MP and a senior official of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) made a public announcement in the Turkish parliament on Monday in a protest about the intervention.
Meral Danış Beştaş, the vice-chair of HDP’s parliamentary group, said the intervention was a reflection of the hostility against the Kurdish people generally.
“This is the reflection of the hostility against the Kurdish people, in this case targeting Kurdish language and music. The police who do not prevent violence against women on the streets stop a music group’s performance and ban the music.”
Beştaş then went on to sing a Kurdish song in protest.
The Turkish police had broken up the group of Kurdish musicians as they were performing at the historical İstiklal Avenue on Sunday. The incident was made public by MP Ferhat Encü, who posted videos of the police intervention on Twitter.
“The police became law-makers. They are deciding which language can be used in music!” Encü tweeted.
He also explained that four members of the music group had been detained by the police.
In another video he posted, an undercover police officer could be heard saying: “The square, this spot, everywhere belongs to me. You will not perform.”
Later a statement was released by the Istanbul Police Department. It said:
“We deeply regret that an impression of a ban on the Kurdish language has been made. The posts on social media do not reflect the truth.”
The statement claimed that the police had intervened to prevent a gathering that could block the traffic on İstiklal Avenue, the single most crowded spot not only in İstanbul but in the whole country, with tens of thousand of visitors flowing in and out the narrow avenue every single hour day and night.