Istanbul – BİA News Center
1 March 2012, Thursday
The Artists Initiative expressed deep concern about the recent oppression of all opposition sections of society in their signature campaign entitled ‘We disapprove’.
The related meeting on Wednesday (29 February) at a theatre in Taksim/Istanbul was attended by renowned Turkish artists such as musician Edip Akybayram, theatre and cinema actor Levent Kırca, actor Rutkay Aziz, writer and human rights activist Eşber Yağmurdereli, theatre and cinema actress Arsen Gürzap, writer Metin Uca or poet and author Ataol Behramoğlu.
Actor Orhan Aydın introduced the campaign ‘We disapprove’ to the audience. He said that Turkish writers, poets, painters, sculptors, movie and theatre artists, caricaturists, photograph artists and all people of art were concerned about the future of the country.
“Universal values of enlightenment and the gains of our republic are being destroyed. Secular and scientific education is retrograding and takes on anachronistic characteristics. The quest of the young people for freedom and the working class’ search for their rights is being threatened by police truncheons and imprisonment.”
Censorship and Auto-Censorship
“Independent thinking has been put behind bars. Justice became the tool of injustice. The public’s right to information has been seized. The artists’ freedom of creativity is under the threat of censorship and auto-censorship to a level unmatched with any other period [in the past],” Aydın critcized.
Aydın announced that the artists would see it as the duty of the conscience of arts to be on the side of labour, democracy, justice, modernity and resistance to injustice and oppression.
After Aydın’s speech, Levent Kırca declared, “For a long time, people said ‘nothing will happen’ with regard to the government policies. Later on, they said ‘it’s too late’. Today is the right time.”
Painter Mehmet Güleryüz emphasized: “Together we have the power to speak up against the stumbling.”
Eşber Yağmurdereli reminded that 150,000 people were currently incarcerated in Turkish prisons and drew attention to the fact that the number of prisoners was lower even in the period around the 12 September military coup in 1980. Arsen Gürzap claimed that artists did not bow their heads during the military coup d’états on 12 March 1972 and 12 September 1980 and that they were not going to do so now.
İsmail Hakkı Demircioğlu