A group of artists in Turkey has released a joint statement to say that they’re not afraid.
The statement titled, “We’re not afraid, we reject!” was signed by a number of prominent individuals, including actresses Müjde Ar and Meltem Cumbul, actors Rutkay Aziz and Levent Üzümcü, poet Ataol Behramoğlu, singer Edip Akbayram and many others.
While criticizing the government’s actions on a number of issues, the artists also called on the opposition “to be more determined and brave.”
“To our dear people, we address you as artists who put their labor and talents to the service of the people and the country. Your happiness is our happiness and your sadness is our sadness. We know, see and sense that you’re not happy,” they said.
“How can one be happy in the conditions that we’re living in,” they added.
The artists touched upon the economic situation of the country and the decreasing value of the Turkish Lira, saying that the prices are high, thousands are struggling with unemployment and poverty, while also trying to figure out what tomorrow brings.
“Our youth are struggling in despair,” they said.
Noting that the nature is also being destroyed by people, the artists slammed Kanal Istanbul, which seeks to carve out an artificial shipping canal on the outskirts of the European side of Istanbul in order to alleviate traffic from the Bosphorus Strait, over the expected Istanbul earthquake.
The artists said that the admiration of monarchy is being encouraged.
“The Ottoman Empire’s darkest and most oppressive periods and their leaders are praised,” they said.
The current condition of the judiciary, jailed journalists, intellectuals and politicians, workplace accidents and femicides are among the issues that the artists criticized.
They also said that artists critical of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) are facing difficulties since bans are imposed on them, as well as being sued.
“The Turkish Republic faces the threat of losing all of its reputation and credibility at the eyes of the civilized world,” they said.
At the end of the statement, the artists called on the government to respect universal human rights, mainly the freedom of expression.
“Turkey is not an abandoned country,” they said.