The Denizli Metropolitan Municipality, led by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), on June 17 announced that they canceled the concerts of famous Melike Şahin and Mabel Matiz.
“The concerts of Mabel Matiz and Melike Şahin, which will be held by a private company on 19 and 30 June at the Open Air Theatre, have been canceled,” the municipality said without citing any reason.
Kamuoyuna duyurumuzdur…— Denizli Büyükşehir Belediyesi🇹🇷 (@denizlibld) June 17, 2023
19 ve 30 Haziran tarihlerinde Açık Hava Tiyatrosu’nda özel bir şirket tarafından yapılacak olan Mabel Matiz ve Melike Şahin konserleri iptal edilmiştir.
The move came after both singers recently showed their support for the LGBTI+ community.
Speaking at the Elle Style Awards on June 13, Melike Şahin said, "I believe that a day will come to this land when we will not be judged or lynched for who we love, who we kiss, and where we uncover or cover ourselves. We will be able to enjoy the happiness that comes from standing side by side in solidarity just because we are human beings. We will do this together. All my sisters, all queers... I know that we have the power to cover every part of us that is hurt with compassion. I dedicate my award to the upright smiles we deserve and the prices we pay."
At the same award ceremony, Mabel Matiz also dedicated his award to the LGBTI+ community in Turkey and said “I dedicate my award to LGBTI+s from Turkey, who have bravely and stubbornly put themselves forward despite all kinds of pressures and limitations for many years, who continue to shout out their existence without fear, and who have always been a great inspiration to me with their courage.”
Both singers have been targeted in social media by the government supporters and by pro-government media.
In a similar move, the Bursa Metropolitan Municipality, also led by the AKP, canceled the concert of Melike Şahin after her speech.
After the Turkish state's increasing aggression toward the country's LGBTI+ community and failure to adopt effective policies for the elimination of violence against women, many famous figures have been using their award speeches to point out the ongoing problems. Nonetheless, they have been facing backlash from the officials and pro-government media.