ASLIHAN – Artist protest appointment in State Theaters and TuSAK

Artist protest appointment in State Theaters and TuSAKTurkish artistsand#39 foundations and unions protested against the Ministry of Culture and Tourismand#39s appointment of actor Nejat Birecik as new general director of the State Theaters (DT) in Ankara on Monday, drawing attention to the actorand#39s sympathy for a controversial bill on the Turkey Arts Council (TuSAK) and the governmentand#39s recent pressure on artistic institutions.Members of the Theater Actorsand#39 Union (TOMEB), the Theater Opera and Ballet Members Foundation (TOBAV) and the Association for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality City Theaters (IITISAN), as well as opera singers and theater professionals, called on Birecik to resign from his post during a protest in front of the Ankara Opera House building.

Actress Ferahnur Barut read a joint statement from the assembled unions and groups, saying Birecik was appointed to the post due to his sympathy for TuSAK, describing the actor as andldquoan enthusiastic subcontractor of the bill on TuSAK.andrdquo Barut called on him andldquo[to] immediately abandon the post, which he does not deserve.

andrdquoBirecik has been appointed as general director of the DT, replacing former director Mustafa Kurt, who resigned from the post allegedly due to a debate over censorship. The 51-year-old Birecik, who is known for his roles in popular Turkish TV series such as andldquoSeksenlerandrdquo (The and#3980s), was general art director of the Kocaeli Municipal City TheaterBirecikand#39s appointment resulted in a wave of resignations from the DT, as Osman Nuri Ercan, who is DT deputy manager in charge of art events, Adana State Theater Manager Gkhan DoIan and Van State Theater Director Demet Boci resigned from their posts.

Speaking in an interview with Todayand#39s Zaman, TOBAV President Tamer Levent said these resignations had nothing to do with Birecikand#39s personality but only his support for TuSAK. If the proposed bill on TuSAK becomes law, the final word on all art-related projects in Turkey will lie with the council.

Kultur-Sanat Sen President Yavuz Demirkaya read another statement at the protest, saying the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is imposing pressure on artistic institutions and artists. Demirkaya said the pressure is gradually increasing and that such interventions would paralyze artistsand#39 work.

Demirkaya underlined several problems, including attempts to sell Ankaraand#39s Akun and Iinasi theaters, the run-down Van State Theater building, which is still awaiting repairs, and the ministryand#39s intervention in the repertoire of the DT. He added that a witch hunt against artists and a campaign to make them less significant are gaining speed.

After reading these statements, the assembled artists attached notes about the protection of art to balloons and released them into the sky.In the meantime, conductor Rengim Gkmen, former general director of the Turkish State Opera and Ballet (DOB), who the ministry removed from his post and replaced with Selman Ada, has been appointed to a post that had not previously existed.

Gkmen has been appointed as an andldquoorchestra artistandrdquo in the Presidential Symphony Orchestra News reports have claimed that Gkmen is preparing to file a lawsuit against the ministry over the recent incident, and it has emerged that the ministry has allegedly launched an internal investigation into the former DOB director as well.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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