Two more singers prevented from performing as Turkish crackdown on concerts continues

Apolas Lermi and Niyazi Koyuncu from the Black Sea region have their concerts cancelled by AKP municipalities.

The AKP-MHP government continues to cancel concerts and festivals organized by Kurdish and opposition artists. After the prevented performances of Kurdish artists Aynur Doğan and Metin Kemal Kahraman, concerts of Apolas Lermi and Niyazi Koyuncu from the Black Sea region have been cancelled. Apolas Lermi announced on his social media account that his concert to take place in Denizli province on May 29 has been cancelled by the ruling AKP's Pamukkale Municipality, and a second concert on June 11 in Bostancı, Istanbul has been cancelled by the organizing company.

“The concerts have been cancelled because of the statements and posts of a certain person who targeted me,” Apolas Lermi said.


A concert by Niyazi Koyuncu, organized by Pendik Public Education Centre to be staged on May 25 at Pendik Beach Square, has also been cancelled by the AKP's Pendik Municipality. “As a justification for the cancellation, the municipality argued that a musician who does not share the 'value judgments and views' of the municipality should not be allowed to perform in Pendik. Despite all the bans and crackdowns, we will continue to sing our songs together and more loudly,” Koyuncu said, reacting to the ban.

On May 16, the municipality of the Derince district in Kocaeli, which is run by the AKP, banned a concert by the Kurdish singer Aynur Doğan. The event, which was organized by a private company and was to take place on 25 May in the Derince amphitheatre, was classified as "unsuitable" and prohibited after a thorough examination by the city administration, the municipality said in a statement on Twitter.

Aynur Doğan is one of the most famous singers from Kurdistan. With her extraordinary voice and stage presence, she has been one of the most important ambassadors of the Kurdish people on international stages for more than two decades. She repeatedly carried Kurdish folk music to the international bestseller lists and made her contribution to the fact that Kurdish music has experienced a hesitant comeback even in Turkey in recent years - despite all reprisals and traumatic memories of the times in which Kurdish cultural heritage was systematically destroyed in Turkey was ousted.

Just one day later, on May 17, the governor's office for the province of Muş banned a concert by Metin and Kemal Kahraman. As the artist duo explained in a statement, they were only informed of the ban on the event one day before the concert. The announcement was made by telephone, shortly before the closing time of the authority. As the written decision could be received only one day before, there was hardly any time left for an urgent application to the court against the ban order.

Metin and Kemal Kahraman are from the Kurdish-Alevi region of Dersim. In the early 1990s, they began making field recordings in their homeland. They asked older relatives and acquaintances to sing songs to document the tradition of Dersim, which is in danger of disappearing. This documentation is a pioneering work. It consists of music, fairy tales and myths of the culture of Kirmanckî - this variety of Kurdish is also called Zazakî, Dimilkî or Kirdkî. Metin and Kemal Kahraman are not only musicians and songwriters, but also ethnomusicologists.

On the other hand, the Turkish Consulate in Cologne put pressure on the Filmforum NRW management to cancel the screening of the film “Dema Dirîreşkan” (Blackberry Season) by director Haşim Aydemir, set to be be screened at the Filmforum NRW theatre in Cologne on May 21.

The film crew reacted to the pressures by the Turkish state with a written statement, saying, “The Turkish state's fear of art is clear. In the last week, Turkey has cancelled concerts by Kurdish artists and arrested several artists. The AKP-MHP government, which wants to make its existence legitimate and permanent, wants to transform everything that can transform, beautify and make life more liveable into a crime. This situation has turned into the usual practice of the Turkish state. As we have seen in recent days, intense pressure is being exerted on Kurdish artists by the Turkish state. They want to impose these practices on European states as well. We condemn this approach once again. We believe that our film will be supported by all art lovers. Our goal, of course, is to be worthy of our audience, to show things that they may not know, and to create a little sensitivity.”