Smear campaign launched against me for attending pianist’s concert: Erdoğan
“Last week we attended a concert by Fazıl Say, a rare Turkish pianist known worldwide. We really enjoyed the musical feast. I was pleased to stand next to an artist representing our country in the international arena,” Erdoğan said at a meeting at the Presidential Complex on Jan. 30. “But these well-known circles have immediately launched a smear campaign against me as soon as I received the invitation.”
Erdoğan, alongside a number of senior government ministers and visiting U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, watched Say’s performance of the Troy Sonata and other pieces on Jan. 18. Say received a standing ovation and praise from Erdoğan, who lauded Say’s “genuinely unique performance.”
Say had invited Erdoğan to his concert during a phone call in which the president had expressed his condolences over the loss of the pianist’s mother. Erdoğan in recent years had slammed Say over his critical stance toward a number of political and cultural matters.
“Our support to traditional and modern arts is known. We have never made a distinction between our artists and art types,” Erdoğan said.
“However,” the president said, “a group of people see the reconciliation between the nation and the republic as a threat. For them, the arts are something they approve of but only certain forms of music are valuable.”
This rude stance can also be visible in poetry, architecture, painting and other forms of the arts, he said. “We will continue our path together with our people as has been until today.”
Erdoğan also recalled that his government has been investing in arts by building modern concert halls, providing support to artists especially in the film industry.
“We export our soap operas to 156 countries and to around half a million viewers. Turkey comes after the U.S. in soap opera exports with a $350 million revenue,” he said.