HDP MP sings in Kurdish in parliament to protest detention of street musicians

HDP Group Deputy Chair Meral Danış Beştaş on Jan. 31 sang a Kurdish song at a press conference in parliament, calling attention to the recent police detention of four young street musicians for singing in Kurdish on Istanbul's İstikal Avenue.

Duvar English 

HDP Group Deputy Chair Meral Danış Beştaş sang a Kurdish song during a press conference in parliament on Jan. 31, in protest of the detention of four Kurdish musicians on Istanbul's İstikal Avenue.

“The songs and melodies of the Kurdish people will continue to be sung in Hakkari, Izmir, Istanbul and Diyarbakir. I guess they didn't hear about the universality of music,” Beştaş said in her statement.

Earlier this week, four street musicians were detained singing in Kurdish on İstiklal Street. Two videos that went viral on social media showed civil police officers interrupting the musicians and asking them to stop their performance. "Every place is my territory, you cannot do it,” one of the police officers is heard telling the musicians in the video. 

Following their detention, the musicians said that they were subjected to insults and physical violence under police custody. They have said although they are aware that a similar incident can take place again in the future, they will continue to perform.

“Although we know that the same thing can occur again, we will continue to do our music,” said one of the musicians Ferhat Demir.

“Our other friends who make music on the street are also mistreated, but the way we are treated is different. I want to think that there is no discrimination, but I can't think of any other reason than making music in Kurdish,” Demir said.

Another detained musician Muhammed Taşdemir said the police wanted to confiscate the money they had earned from their performance.

“We resisted them. When we resisted, they fined 205 TL for 'disturbing the environment'. We also paid 205 TL to get our confiscated instruments. They took away about five of our instruments in these five months,” he said, according to reporting by Mezopotamya news agency.

Other group members similarly said that they were punched and choked by the police during their detention.

After the incident, HDP deputies Rıdvan Turan and Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu submitted parliamentary questions for Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu to answer.

The ban of the Kurdish song and detention of the musicians was also widely slammed on social media, with many users expressing their reaction with the hashtag of #KürtçeMüzikSusmayacak (Kurdish music will not stay silent).