Turkish district governor finds Kurdish play ‘inappropriate,’ cancels performance

A district governor’s office in Turkey’s eastern Ağrı province has banned staging the Kurdish play “Qral û Travis” (The King and Travis) at the Patnos Culture and Arts Center, claiming it found the play “inappropriate.”

Duvar English

The Patnos district governor’s office in Turkey’s eastern Ağrı province has banned the Kurdish play “Qral û Travis” (The King and Travis). The district governor stated that the play was not found “appropriate” and refused the company’s application to stage the play at the Patnos Culture and Arts Center.

Ağrı province is densely populated by the Kurdish community.

Abdullah Kartal from the Şano Ar company of the southeastern Batman province on Jan. 5 applied to the Patnos district governor’s office to stage the play in the district, according to reporting by Jin News.

Kartal criticized the baseless ban and said that the play was performed in various provinces of Turkey without any obstacles. He asserted that the district governor did not allow the play because it was in Kurdish. He asked, “Our play does not involve any weapons or bombs. What kind of approval does a play need?” 

Since Jan. 5, the company’s application made the rounds between the District Education Directorate, the Ağrı security office, and the district governor. Kartal also added the security office requested his criminal record along with the poster and script of the play. This is a non-standard procedure for a play permit, according to Kartal. 

On Jan. 16, the district governor’s office verbally stated its refusal for the play that was planned for Jan. 17. Kartal drew attention to the baseless nature of the ban, and added the district governor has not provided a reasoned decision. 

“It is clear that they want to estrange us from society by banning Kurdish language and culture events,” Kartal added. 

The Patnos district of Ağrı is one of the six municipalities still governed by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democracy and Equality (DEM) Party, previously called Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). District attorneys are government-appointed officials. 

HDP won 65 district and metropolitan mayoral posts in the 2019 local elections, 59 of which have since been replaced by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government with trustee mayors for terrorism charges.