Opposition Party records 65 incidents of pressure, censorship in arts and culture in last 6 months

The oldest political party and currently the Main Opposition party in Turkey publish a censorship report card regarding pressure put on the world of arts and culture in Turkey

CHP Deputy Chairman Ercan Karakaş.

The oldest political party and currently the Main Opposition party in Turkey, The Republican People's Party (CHP) has published a censorship report card regarding pressure put on the world of arts and culture in Turkey, revealing 65 incidents incidents of repression, prohibition and censorship in the last six months.

According to Today Zaman, a News Magazine in Turkey, CHP Deputy Chairman Ercan Karakaş presented the report produced by the CHP Culture and Arts Platform that examined the pressure and censorship exerted between Jan. 1 and June 30. Karakaş highlighted that there have been six incidents in which documentaries, films and theater productions have been censored or banned.

The report shared that there have been two incidents of illegal impeachment or forced resignation in art institutions. There have also been eight instances of censorship and bans in radio, television and newspapers, and 17 for other fields of the arts and literary world. There were 21 events during which people of arts and culture were punished, targeted or the recipients of verbal attacks. Karakaş stressed that these have resulted into a struggle for the existence of an autonomous art scene.

One example of a documentary that was banned was "Two Locks of Hair: The Lost Girls of Dersim," prohibited by the dean of the department of communications at İstanbul University, Nilüfer Sezer.

Another example that garnered a great deal of attention in Turkey earlier this year was when the documentary “Bakur” (Kurdish for “north”) about the day-to-day life of militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the mountains was cut at the last minute from the İstanbul Film Festival. The legal excuse behind the omission of “Bakur” from this year's İstanbul Film Festival was that it did not hold a commercial screening license in accordance with the Law on the Evaluation, Classification and Support of Films, which has been in effect since 2004 but was rarely enforced by Turkish film festival committees until this year's festival.

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