Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) MP Murat Sarısaç has submitted a parliamentary motion on the March 27 World Theatre Day, calling for an investigation to determine the problems theatre players have been going through, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sarısaç's motion noted that especially Kurdish theatre was under the oppression of the government. “Apart from the epidemic's effects, especially Kurdish theatre is being exposed to political obstacles and bans of the government. Therefore, there has been a regression in every area concerning Kurdish since the state of emergency rule declared in July 2016,” Sarısaç said.
The HDP MP recalled that several Kurdish cultural centers, as well as media outlets, were shut down during the state of emergency rule. He said that when the government seized the municipalities of several southeastern provinces in the aftermath of 2016, one thing the appointed trustees made sure was to take municipal theatres out of operation and fire all theatre players.
Sarısaç also recalled that local authorities in October 2020 banned the first Kurdish play to be staged in Istanbul Municipal Theater over "public security concerns."
Mesopotamia Culture Center's theatre group Teatra Jiyana, which translates as New Life Theatre, was planning to stage Dario Fo's play Bêrû when police raided the building hours before the play upon the orders of Gaziosmanpaşa District Governor's Office on Oct. 13, 2020.
“It would have been a first in the 106-year-long history of the Istanbul Municipal Theatre if this Kurdish play was staged. Theatre stage has been seen as a platform on which Kurdish intellects can keep their identities and languages alive,” Sarısaç said.
The HDP MP said that the Kurdish theatre has been exposed to “negative discrimination” as the government has been allowing the staging of theatre plays in other languages.
“When the implementations of trustee mayors towards theatre groups and the banning of Kurdish plays are taken into account, it is a must that parliament investigates the problems faced by Kurdish theatre and players and that the necessary measures are taken,” he said.