Gov’t supporters favored as presidential culture awards announced

The annual presidential culture awards, announced on Thursday evening, were awarded to artists who are known for their pro-Justice and Development Party (AK Party) alignment, thereby illustrating the diminishment of the legitimacy of awards that are to be based on talent and contribution to the arts, according to critics. Todayand’s Zaman spoke with renowned Turkish cinema critic Atilla Dorsay on the matter, and he stated that the legitimacy of the awards is obviously crumbling. Dorsay explained that while it is not his intention to diminish the talents of anyone, it is now clear that the presidential award is given to those artists deemed and”appropriateand” by the government. This yearand’s Presidential Grand Awards in Culture and Arts were awarded to artists such as veteran Arabesque singer-songwriter Orhan Gencebay and authors Rasim andOzdenandOren and Handuseyin Kutlu. and”I do not have an objection to those who received the award this year, but within this group I cannot say that there are many with truly different perspectives or who have voiced any opposition in this period,and” explained Dorsay in a phone interview. and”Therefore, despite my respect for these artists, the importance of these awards has faded, so to say, and until a new guest enters the [presidential] palace, they [the awards] will not contribute to Turkish society,and” he continued.
One of the recipients of an award was Mandunir andOzkul, a beloved, veteran actor who is currently in a vegetative state and has suffered from dementia since 2003. Dorsay noted that while he has endless respect for the actor, it is little too late to give andOzkul an award that he is not even in a state to realize he has won and when he is currently inactive in terms of his current contribution to the arts.
Todayand’s Zaman also reached prominent literary critic Dogan Hizlan for his commentary concerning the award winners, but he replied that he hadnand’t even taken a look at who had won.
The annual Presidential Grand Awards in Culture and Arts are aimed at recognizing both Turkish and foreign individuals and institutions that make significant contributions to Turkish culture and honoring them in the name of the state to encourage such contributions.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN