New culture center in Ankara named after prominent artist Zülfü Livaneli

New culture center in Ankara named after prominent artist Zülfü Livaneli

New culture center in Ankara named after prominent artist Zülfü Livaneli

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A new art center in the Turkish capital has been named after intellectual and artist Zülfü Livaneli, with the opening of the center in the Çankaya district of the city attended by Ankara Çankaya Mayor Alper Taşdelen and Livaneli himself.

“I feel great honor to introduce such work to Çankaya and to name the center after Zülfü Livaneli,” Taşdelen said at the opening ceremony over the weekend.

“Livaneli is a branch of the democracy, freedom, peace and brotherhood river that flows both in this country and in the world. He carries the conscience, struggle and idea of the intellectuals,” he added.

“The intellectuals of this country are often remembered with jails, exile and massacres, because living in this country and putting up a certain struggle necessitates paying a great price. Livaneli is one of our intellectuals who has paid such a big price. For this reason, standing for our intellectuals, making their heritage alive, and bringing up new generations who will walk on their road is our responsibility,” he said.

Livaneli is the author of many popular novels, directed films, and recorded many albums. He was arrested several times after the 1971 coup d’etat and went into exile for many years before returning to Turkey.

Giving a short speech at the ceremony, Livaneli said the new center was opening at a time of “overwhelming sorrows” in the country.

“We have seen good and bad days in this painful and dear country of ours. Today we are attending an opening ceremony of a cultural center at a time when the sorrows are overwhelming,” he said.

“We are not too used to being praised. This is a city where I got married, where my daughter was born, where I was jailed. Now a culture center is being named after me. Can there be anything more beautiful than that?” he added. 

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, former Greek Prime Minister and Socialist International president Yorgo Papandreou, a number of CHP officials, the ambassadors of countries including the U.K., Greece and Germany were also present at the ceremony.

Papandreou said he and Livaneli had a friendship that went back a long way, to when both were exiled in Sweden.

“In the 1970s me and my family were exiled. Livaneli and I lived in Sweden … Livaneli has played a prominent role for those who struggle for peace,” he said.

“He is a symbol of a global progressive power,” he added.

The art center, built on a 1,000-meter square area aims to contribute Ankara’s cultural and artistic field.

The center will include music, literature, cinema, ballet and dance workshops, and it also houses two exhibition halls.