In a midnight decree, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed nationalist TV actor Tamer Karadağlı as the head of Turkish State Theatres. Several other appointments were made in the same presidential decree which was published in the Official Gazette on Aug. 11.
Karadağlı’s appointment stirred a huge reaction on social media, with users recalling his targeting of two female actresses and his support for anti-LGBTI rallies.
In May, Karadağlı targeted Merve Dizdar after she won the bestress actress award and gave a speech at the Cannes Film Festival over her role in director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s film “About Dry Grasses.” Karadağlı said that he did not find it right for Dizdar “to criticize her country abroad after doing her most popular work on a state-run TV, winning millions of people’s hearts and winning money.”
In her speech, Dizdar had said: "I dedicate this award to all my sisters who never give up hope no matter what and to all the rebellious souls in Turkey who are waiting for the good days they deserve.”
In a separate incident in 2021, Karadağlı interrupted actress Nihal Yalçın on stage as she was giving a speech for her Antalya Golden Orange Award for Best Lead Actress. Karadağlı later defended himself by saying, “The lady is anyway a person who is embracing the (Peoples’ Democratic Party) HDP and (Selahattin) Demirtaş and a person embraced by them.”
In another controversial statement, Karadağlı expressed support for the anti-LGBTI rally held at Istanbul’s Saraçhane Square last year, by saying: “I stand against those who are trying to damage the Turkish family system, our children’s moral values.”
Musician to lead Directorate of Fine Arts after making children sing ‘Long Live Grandfather Tayyip’
Another controversial appointment concerns that of Ömer Faruk Belviranlı who became the head of the General Directorate of Fine Arts at the Culture Ministry.
Belviranlı made the headlines in 2021 when he made a chorus of primary school children sing “Long Live Grandfather Tayyip” to mark Erdoğan’s birthday. Belviranlı was the head of the Konya Turkish Sufism Music Community at the time.