Music industry demands to be in normalization plan of gov’t
The key players in the Turkish music industry, which faced a catastrophic blow by the pandemic in the past one and a half years, reacted against the latest decision of keeping musical shows, concerts and recitals out of the gradual normalization plan that started on June 1.
Musicians and artists across the country asked the government to impose curfews at midnight instead of 10 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays so that they could perform music and make a living.
Turkey has eased COVID-19 restrictions under its normalization plan, shortening curfew hours and partially reopening restaurants and cafes. Gyms have reopened, and shopping malls will operate from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Sundays.
As the government did not include musical activities in the gradual normalization plan, musicians called for unity by raising the slogan “Don’t shut eyes! Protect your stage.”
“I have been away from stages for one and a half years. My voice is my only revenue,” Şimal, a singer, told daily Hürriyet on June 2.
“I have a profession, but I cannot perform it. Please hear our screams,” said Yudum, another singer.
Engin Yıldız, a guitarist in bands playing at special ceremonies or weddings, is now working as an insurance broker at his brother’s office. He is another musician who regretted being in the musical sector in the pandemic days.
“I understood once again that music was not important in this country,” he noted.
Conductor Tarık Sezer is another name from the music industry asking what they did to have deserved the current situation.
“Let the curfew begin at midnight so that we can perform our music and leave the stage by 11 p.m., after which we all can go home. There 35 musicians in my orchestra, and by counting their families, the number is around 100,” he stressed.
The country’s renowned pop singers also supported the industry’s call for unity.
“A sector is left to its destiny. Justice please,” Gülşen, a famous pop singer, said on social me-dia.
Prominent musician Nilüfer called the latest normalization plan a “huge blow to the sector.”
Showing her concerns over the plight of musicians in the ongoing pandemic, Demet Akalın said, “I hope we do not get news of musicians committing suicides.”
“The decision is ideological, not logical,” said Harun Tekin, the lead singer of the rock band, Mor ve Ötesi.
According to 41-year-old popstar Murat Boz, there are hundreds of thousands in the sector who “cannot bring bread to their homes.”
Amid the conflict, the government announced a relief package for people in the music industry.
Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy announced that the support program named “Don’t Let Music to Stop,” which started in December 2020, was extended.
According to the program, some 35,900 sector workers were paid 1,000 Turkish Liras ($116) monthly in January, February and March.
Ersoy announced that financial support would be given for the month of April and May, too.