An Islamist group on June 27 attempted to attack the exhibition titled “Starting from the Middle” featuring more than 400 works by 19 curators and 300 artists at “Art Istanbul Feshane” opened by Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (İBB) on June 23.
A group gathered in front of the Feshane building and claimed that the exhibition included photographs containing nudity and hostility towards the police, promoted LGBTI+ propaganda, and showcased films praising socialism.
One of the leaders of the group threatened İBB Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu and said, "The exhibition is an insult to the Muslim Turkish nation. This exhibition must be removed immediately. We warn Ekrem, either he removes this exhibition or we as a nation know how to remove it."
The mayor of Eyüpsultan Municipality, where Feshane is located, said on Twitter that they expect İBB to “understand the sensitivities of society” and added, “We always respect freedom of expression. However, this freedom should not be at a point where moral boundaries that the majority of our society may find unacceptable are crossed. Everyone who claims to serve this city must remember that they are obliged to respect the values and moral principles of our society.”
İstanbul'un kalbi Eyüpsultan'da ahlak ve değerlerimize uygun olmayan sergiyle ilgili İBB tarafından gerekli adımların atılacağını "ümit ederek" bir açıklama yapmamıştık.— Deniz Köken (@DenizKoken) June 27, 2023
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The exhibition was temporarily closed while the group attempted to carry out the attack but was later reopened.
Feshane, originally established in the 18th century for the production of uniforms for Ottoman soldiers, underwent restoration works between 2018-2023 and was subsequently transformed into an art center.