A civil society platform consisting of several Islamist NGOs has demanded that festivals be cancelled on the grounds that they “direct the youth to illicit, nonethical relations, intoxicating alcohol and substance use, rebellion and riots.”
In a memorandum named “Let’s say ‘No’ to wrong-doings at the festivals,” the Balıkesir Civil Society Platform demanded that every kind of activity be gender-segregated, according to reporting by the online news outlet Diken.
“We demand that in every kind of activity, places for girls and boys are separated and alcohol as well as substance use is prevented and controlled as much as possible,” read the memorandum, signed by 25 organizations.
Among the organizations that signed the memorandum are the Islamic business group MÜSİAD and Humanitarian Relief Foundation (İHH), a conservative charity with close ties to the government.
After the target of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) figures and trolls, several concerts and festivals have been cancelled by the local governor’s offices and AKP municipalities.
Last year, Turkey’s biggest rock gathering Zeytinli Rock Festival, which is annually held in the Balıkesir province, was cancelled on the grounds of “public security.” An Islamist NGO named “İlim Yayma Cemiyeti (Community)” was one of the organizations that had demanded the festival’s cancellation. The same NGO also put its name under this year’s memorandum.