Turkish municipality cancels singer's concert over Kurdish songs

A Turkish municipality has canceled a singer's concert after finding out that he is a Kurdish singer. "We didn't know that Kurdish songs were planned to be sung," the municipality told the singer.

Serkan Alan / DUVAR

A Turkish municipality in the capital Ankara has canceled singer Mem Ararat's concert after finding out that he was singing in Kurdish. 

"We didn't know that Kurdish songs were planned to be sung," Keçiören Municipality told the singer. 

Ziz Müzik previously asked the municipality to arrange a hall for Mem Ararat, whose real name is Mehmet Esen, to perform on Dec. 4.

A municipal official, however, called Ziz Müzik later on and said that they didn't know that the songs in the concert would be Kurdish. 

"We can't allow that," the official said. 

Mem Ararat, in response, condemned the discriminatory practice. 

"This is a hate crime," he said. 

"We will continue to sing our songs together in Kurdish," he noted. 


In an absurd defense, Keçiören Municipality official Buket Taker said that the hall was reserved for Mehmet Esen and not Mem Ararat, despite the former being the singer's real name. 

According to Taker, "an actor's name pops up when you search for Mehmet Esen's name" and thus the concert was canceled "since the organization company misinformed the municipality." 

"They should have told us his stage name. How can we know?" the official asked, noting that the municipality will file a complaint regarding the incident.