A group of 10 youths playing the saz, a traditional stringed musical instrument also known as a bağlama, were forced to come off the stage in a cultural festival in the German
city of Munich on July 1, amid allegations that audience members objected to their logo featuring the Turkish flag, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The group, known as the “Three Five People Group” (“Üç Beş Kişi” in Turkish), were initially supposed to play for a total of 40 minutes, but festival officials reportedly asked them to come off the stage after two songs.
Levent Ekiz, a spokesperson for the group and member of the Munich Council of Foreigners, told daily Hürriyet that the council head Dimitrina Lang had told him that some people who attended the festival reacted against the Turkish flag on the logo.
“This is an incident that is very hard for me to believe. This is a kind of discrimination and racism. We, as children of Munich, came here to have fun. We have officially registered [for this festival]. Everyone knows our flag has a place in our logo. I am a member of the Council of Foreigners. There is nothing to politicize here,” Ekiz said.
“What is wrong with showing our identity? An international cultural festival is celebrated here, where identities are forbidden. No one has the right to question another’s identity or where they come from, especially the head of the Council of Foreigners. These overreactions against Turkey have to stop. If this hate now ostracizes the youth, the situation will become critical,” he added.
The youths had prepared for weeks for their performance and cried when they left the stage, Ekiz said.
“They want us to sing and be on stage but under the condition that we hide our identity. The children had prepared so much for this program. An injustice has been done,” he added.