Turkey Bans Kurdish-Language Play From Istanbul Theatre

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Turkey Bans Kurdish-Language Play From Istanbul Theatre

Photo: (Left) Actress Ruges Kirici speaks to media in front of Istanbul metropolitan municipality theatre building, (Right) Actor Omer Sahin said the ban recalled similar actions in the 1990s. AFP Images.

A play in Kurdish language set to be shown in Istanbul, Turkey, has been banned by Turkish authorities. The show was a Kurdish translation of "Horn and Trumpets... and Petarades" by Italian play write, Dario Fo.

Since 1980, the use of the Kurdish language in public arenas has been banned by the Turkish state, though this was relaxed somewhat during the 1990s. Actress, Ruges Kirici, who had expected to appear in the play said:

"We were on stage, ready and waiting for the spectators when the decision to ban the play was issued by the sub-prefecture … Why would performing this play in Kurdish be a threat to public order? We were going to laugh together at a comedy, even that was not tolerated."

The reason for the ban given by Turkish authorities is that it allegedly contains propaganda related to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), something that those involved in the play deny. Ismail Catakli, a spokesperson for the Turkish interior ministry said in a statement:

"Theatre in Kurdish is of course allowed. But a play containing PKK propaganda cannot be tolerated."

This is not the first time that Kurdish culture based groups have been targeted by the Turkish government. Two members of the band Grup Yorum, a musical band that sang in both Turkish and Kurdish, died in prison on hunger strike earlier this year after being arrested and charged with being involved in terrorism. The band has always denied such links and claim that they were targeted solely because they spoke out against the regime of Recep Erdogan.

Many in the Kurdish minority within Turkey have long advocated for their human-rights and for a separate independent Kurdish state in the South-East of the country, which they call Kurdistan. While the majority of the Kurdish population live in the South-East a significant number also live in the major Turkish cities of Istanbul and Ankara.

While many Kurds have campaigned peacefully others have resorted to armed struggle. During a 40 year conflict between the PKK and the Turkish state as many as 60,000 people have been killed. The PKK is registered as an illegal terrorist organisation by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

The banning of the play will surely bring the world's attention to the fact that in a state bordering Europe, a language of a nation has been literally banned for 40 years.

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Thinking Humanity: Turkey Bans Kurdish-Language Play From Istanbul Theatre
Turkey Bans Kurdish-Language Play From Istanbul Theatre
A Kurdish language play set to be shown in Istanbul, Turkey, has been banned by Turkish authorities. The show was a Kurdish translation of "Horn and
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