Turkish folk singer Livaneli not surprised by ‘dark forces’ against intellectuals

Turkish folk singer Livaneli not surprised by ‘dark forces’ against intellectuals

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish folk singer Livaneli not surprised by ‘dark forces’ against intellectuals

Singer Livaneli thinks Turkey is a 'mythological beast eating its kids.' DHA Photo

Zülfü Livaneli, famous Turkish folk singer, author and former politician, who was the victim of an assault attempt for unknown reasons before and after a concert last week, feels isolated but not surprised. However, his reaction is not limited to the incident, but the recent street violence in the country and the state’s decades-long attitudes.

“We are used to being treated as foster children,” he told the Hürriyet Daily News in an e-mail interview yesterday. “Anything can happen in this country ... We are reaching large crowds with books, music and thoughts, but some dark forces are enemy to the intellectuals of this country."

Livaneli was the victim of an assault attempt by a group, including municipal workers, on June 20 while he was in the southern province of Mersin for a gig. The incident broke out because a dance group was using the backstage room spared for Livaneli, according to reports.

Livaneli is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and is also popular in neighboring Greece, particularly due to his joint works with Mikis Theodorakis.

Commenting on the recent anti-government protests and police interventions, Livaneli said “A growing economy unfortunately does not solve problems in democracy and human rights.”

Livaneli said he had witnessed the killing of more than 50 friends over the years, and some others were tortured. “There were times that we were put in military jails. Unfortunately this Turkey is like a mythological monster that eats its own kids.”

“In countries such as ours the Constitution is not working. A dictatorial approach overwhelms pluralism. This is the basic problem for many countries considered as democracies. But can you call a regime that is not inspected by law and legislation a democracy?”

The government is relying on conspiracy theories while moving against the protests that started with a small group of demonstrators who were opposing the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park in central Istanbul.

“Believing in a theory that says that ‘everyone is setting a conspiracy against us’ is easier than understanding the essence of the opposition. That also makes it easier for them to consolidate their own masses,” he said.

“Young generations are fed up of hearing insults, intervention in their lifestyles and the prime minister’s acting like the ‘father of the nation’ and suddenly they found themselves in Taksim square crying out for freedom. Seeking conspiracy behind this is nonsense.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Zülfü Livaneli was beaten during the incidents last week. Daily News regrets the error and apologizes to Mr. Livaneli and its readers.