Artists protest privatization of state theaters and operas
ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
The demonstrators chanted slogans such as 'Art against darkness,' 'Don't touch my opera' and 'AKP, keep your hands off my art.' DHA photoTurkish stage actors protested the privatization of state theaters and state operas in Istanbul May 25. Many actors such as Genco Erkal, Erkan Taşdöğen, Ayten Uncuoğlu, Levent Üzümcü and Zafer Algöz attended the demonstration at the Taksim Square chanting "Art against darkness," "Don't touch my opera" and "AKP, keep your hands off my art" and accusing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of infringing on the right to make art. The group also held a minute of silence for the 51 victims of the May 11 Reyhanlı attacks.
"If you shut the [state] art institutions, you will also close the [state] art schools. They give us examples from Britain or the United States. I ask my friends who stage theater in Erzurum or Van. When you open the door, does the street feel like London or Berlin? Each country has its own reality," said Üzümcü. Actress Tülin Oral said she saw the move as an attempt to dynamite Turkish art.
Last year Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said art could not be made "by the hand of the state", giving the signal for the privatization of state theaters and operas. The privatization law is said to be still in draft form. However, the new bill reportedly provides for the creation of an 11-member board appointed by the Cabinet that will have every prerogative in terms of choosing the theater, cinema, ballet or opera pieces that will be funded by the state.