Artist refused slot for a concert because of Kurdish songs

Artist refused slot for a concert because of Kurdish songs
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This amounts to a crime against humanity, says Pervin Chakar

A prominent opera singer, Pervin Chakar, announced that she was refused a hall for a concert after revealing she was going to sing Kurdish songs.

“We wrote to the Mardin Artuklu University concert hall to organize a concert in May. The Rector was really positive. They asked for my repertoire. Then they refused to host me in the concert hall because I had Kurdish songs in it. It is saddening to be unable to have a concert in my city. You cannot question the language of an artist’s songs. This amounts to a crime against humanity,” she tweeted.

Abdurrahman Kurt, a member of the Central Decision and Executive Board of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), quote-tweeted Chakar.

“It is unfortunate indeed Ms. Pervin, we were not expecting such behavior and were shocked and saddened. We were faced with a challenge despite all our efforts. But do not worry, we will get past these as well. These acts of cowardice prevent us from implementing the legal regulations that we created and usurped rights that we have restored. Those we call friends among us hit us in the back,” he said.

It was not immediately clear which challenges Kurt was referring to, or who he was hinting at when saying “friends among us”.

Kurdish is not an official language in Turkey – a country in which more than ten million Kurds live. The Constitution even has an article that prevents educational institutions from teaching any language other than Turkish as the native language. 

Kurds living in Turkey have been persecuted for speaking Kurdish for decades, with the language being officially banned following the coup d’état of 1980. The ban was lifted in 1991, yet the issue remains a point of contention.