Director of State Theaters removed from his office

Director of State Theaters removed from his office

Director of State Theaters removed from his office

Lemi Bilgin was removed from his post as the director general of State Theaters in a controversial move. Hürriyet Photo

Director General of State Theaters Lemi Bilgin has been removed from office, only days after he initiated the publication of full-page advertisements in several daily newspapers outlining the performance of the State Theatres over the past year.

Despite having been notified of the removal decision by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism as of May 31 evening, Bilgin is said not to have yet signed the notification about his removal, news reports said.

“This season alone, we covered a route of 430,000 kilometers. We went to our 81 provinces. We staged 6,180 performances of 149 different plays. We thank our people who showed intense interest in every corner of our country,” the advertisements published last week in mass-selling newspapers said.

Controversial ruling

Bilgin’s removal came as a reaction to the fact that the advertisements were placed without permission from the Minister of Culture and Tourism Ömer Çelik, news reports said. The ministry is said to have considered these advertisements as a reaction against recently surfaced plans by the government to close down the state theatres.

According to draft laws reported by the media recently, the government plans to abolish the state theatres in order to be replaced with a new body which will work under the Prime Ministry and which will not have the current autonomous structure which the State Theatres have.

Bilgin was appointed as the director general of the State Theatres before the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002.

Back in August 2005, Bilgin was relieved from duty and Mine Acar was appointed to replace him by then-culture and tourism minister Atilla Koç. Bilgin resumed his post in May 2007 as a result of a court decision.

State and city theaters made the headlines last year after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s remarks that they should be privatized.

Stage actors and actresses have gathered in several cities to protest a government decisions regarding the privatization of theaters.

“As you all know, tickets for the state theaters are very cheap. However, unfortunately, at a private theater we won’t be able to watch plays at this price,” a statement read.