Wedding musicians protest fake money tips in Turkey’s Diyarbakır

Wedding musicians protest fake money tips in Turkey’s Diyarbakır

Wedding musicians protest fake money tips in Turkey’s Diyarbakır A group of musicians in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır have launched a protest on receiving fake foreign currency notes as tips while playing at weddings and have demanded to be paid regular wages by wedding organizers.

A group of 300 people gathered at Göletli Park located in the city center’s Bağlar district on Aug. 6, shouting slogans of “We’ll win by resisting,” state-run Anadolu Agency has reported. The group played drums, “zurna,” (an ancient folk wind instrument known as shawm in the West), and danced the “halay” folk dance in protest.

One of the musicians, İbrahim Dağdelen, spoke on behalf of the group regarding the event, saying the musicians did not receive any payment other than the tips distributed at weddings.

“If [paper] money is thrown [on the stage], then a musician can put bread on the table. If not, he will go home without money. And on top of that, they are now throwing fake dollars. Musicians have become depressed due to financial problems,” Dağdelen said. 

At Turkish wedding parties, it is custom for guests to throw paper money onto the heads of people dancing, which is later collected by musicians as their tips. 

Criticizing this old tradition as it can no longer be a reliable source of income for musicians, Dağdelen instead called on wedding hall administrators to provide regular wages for them.

“We want to make an announcement to all of Turkey from here. Until wedding halls provide wages [for musicians], our friends will continue their resistance. We stand tall, we will not work without a wage,” he noted.

Meanwhile, 70 wedding halls in Diyarbakır have not been offering live music for wedding guests over the past three days as musicians protest performing at ceremonies.

“We are using our instruments to rebel against the owners of wedding halls,” İbrahim Nuhat, the mastermind of this action for protest reportedly told Turkish BBC.

Nuhat also said they had granted a term of respite to wedding hall owners, but if their demand for receiving regular wages went unmet, all of the wedding musicians in Diyarbakır would put down their instruments, leaving over 200 ceremony halls in the province without live music. 

“We are not demanding large amounts of money, but when a musician comes and plays at a wedding, let him have at least 50 Turkish Liras in his pocket on his way home, so that he can buy milk and bread for his child,” he said.

Nuhat also called on other wedding musicians around the Diyarbakır province, telling them to embrace their struggle. “When wedding hall owners cannot find a band to go on stage here [in Diyarbakır], they will call on musicians in nearby provinces and districts, but I call out to them from here, let them embrace the struggle of their friends and respect it. They should not come and work here for free,” he said.