Turkey lifts all COVID-19 restrictions except on music from July 1

Erdoğan has announced that Turkey will lift all COVID-19-related restrictions, including curfews, as of July 1, but one restriction will remain intact and that is on "music." He said that music -- live or otherwise -- in bars and restaurants will only be allowed until midnight. In response to Erdoğan's remarks that "No one has the right to disturb others at night," several people to Twitter saying the government has been trying to impose its lifestyle on others.

A bar employee collects chairs before closing in Istanbul in this file photo.

Duvar English 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced on June 21 that the country will lift all COVID-19-related restrictions as of July 1, except with regards to "music." 

"As of July 1, we are lifting all curfews...Public transportation restrictions will also be lifted and public institutions will return to normal working hours," Erdoğan said following a Cabinet meeting. 

The president however said that the partial ban on music -- live or otherwise -- will remain and start at midnight. 

"We are pushing the restrictions on music to 12 a.m. Take no offense but no one has the right to disturb others at night," he said. 

Several people, including musicians and politicians, criticized the government's latest move on the music sector on Twitter, calling on the Justice and Development Party (AKP) not to interfere with people's lifestyle choices. The hashtag "We are taking offense" went trending, in response to Erdoğan's remarks of "Take no offense." 

"If you are disturbed, do not listen to it Mr.," said Turkish rock star Gaye Su Akyol on Twitter.

"We have no purpose to disturb anyone. To those who see music and us in such a way, we are taking offense," Turkish rock band Redd said.

"Music does not disturb but heals disturbed souls. Musicians do not disturb but perform their art," singer Aylin Aslım said. 

"Music cannot be banned upon a party's idea. Stop playing with musicians' lives. I stand by honorable musicians who have committed suicide by not being able to take bread to their houses," Turkish singer Mahsun Kırmızıgül said. 

"We are saying from the beginning that restrictions are ideological. If you, Erdoğan, will talk about 'disturbances,' people are disturbed about you; what are you going to do about that? Let us know if there is anything that comes to your mind other than running away from elections," main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu wrote on Twitter. 

CHP Deputy Chair Veli Ağbaba said that Erdoğan's remarks prove that the ruling AKP is "not fighting with the coronavirus, but with people's lifestyles." "And this is the latest example," Ağbaba said. 

"The decision to stop music activities at midnight 12 a.m. is an important decision that radically changes the social life that everyone is used to. People go to a venue with live music at this hour anyway. With the same mentality, hour limitation can be brought to several things, including alcohol service. The entertainment culture is changing," said entrepreneur Can Gürses.