Turkish culture minister says citizens can apply to judiciary if unhappy with concert cancellations

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister has advised people to seek their rights in the judiciary if they believe that the recent concert and festival cancellations are “unfair.”

Duvar English

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy has advised citizens to apply to the judiciary if they are not happy with the concert and festival cancellations which are recently increasing in numbers.

In an interview with the pro-government Hürriyet newspaper on Sept. 14, Ersoy said that such cancellations are not good for his ministry either and that the decisions were given by the governor’s offices.

“From the perspective of the Culture and Tourism Ministry and as per the nature of the issue, the less the number of limitations is, the better it is for us. This is our approach. As a matter of fact, if it is possible, let there be no restrictions or limitations. Our job is about culture, art and tourism,” he said.

“In some of the regions, some sensitive issues might arise and district governor’s offices can seldom give decisions of cancellations. But, district governor’s offices are not the last resort, but the first one. If implementations are thought to be unfair, a revision through judiciary means can be demanded.”

In recent months, governor’s offices throughout Turkey have canceled many concerts on the grounds of “national and spiritual sensitivities” after the organizations or singers themselves were targeted by especially conservative and Islamist groups on social media.

In August two renowned music festivals known as Million Fest Fethiye and Zeytinli Rock Festival were canceled, with people saying that the decisions had a political nature.

Lastly, earlier this month, a district governor banned alcohol and cigarette sale at the Nilüfer Music Festival which took place in the western province of Bursa’s Nilüfer district on Sept. 2-4.