Hacı Bişkin / DUVAR
A Turkish musician has committed suicide as he was struggling with financial problems due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Duran Ay was performing in various entertainment venues in Istanbul's Beyoğlu district prior to the pandemic, but was left unemployed for the last nine months.
“He [Ay] was a hard-working guy and was earning 150-200 liras per day for his performances. His death saddened us all,” said Aydın Kara, the manager of one of the entertainment venues in Beyoğlu. Nine musicians used to perform in each of the two venues operated by Kara prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kara said the moment that the pandemic broke out in Turkey, the government “targeted entertainment venues.” He said that many people working in the entertainment industry, including cook and waiters, “are on the verge of suicide.”
“A musician just called me and said while crying, 'I do not even have money to buy food for my baby.' His voice is still echoicing in my ears,” Kara said.
Many people working in the entertainment industry have been for months now complaining about the government's lack of support for them. Several musicians have not gone on the stage since spring amid the COVID-19 measures.
In September, Turkish musicians have launched a campaign on social media with the hashtag of #MüziğeSesVer (which translates as “Give voice to music”) to draw attention to their economic difficulties. However, the government has not still taken any steps to ensure that musicians can continue to make a living.
Representatives of the entertainment industry have many times called on the government to supply them with aid packages in order to prevent a wave of social unrest and further suicides.
Turkish Musicians and Performers Union (Müzik-Sen) said in September that around 100 musicians in the country have committed suicide since the government introduced preventive measures against the pandemic in March.