Turkey: The municipal police in the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır (Amed), whose elected mayor was deposed and replaced by a government appointee, attempted on Saturday night to stop a highly anticipated concert featuring renowned Kurdish musician Kasım Taşdoğan. Citing a supposed permission requirement and complaints of noise, the authorities tried to prevent the event from taking place.

Turkey: The municipal police in the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır (Amed), operating under government appointee who replaced the elected mayor, attempted to prevent a concert featuring celebrated Kurdish artist Kasım Taşdoğan from taking place at a café. The authorities cited a permission requirement and noise complaints as reasons for their intervention.

The concert eventually proceeded without the use of loudspeakers in defiance of the intervention, and the audience embraced Taşdoğan’s captivating melodies with enthusiasm, bringing the event to a successful conclusion.

Ramazan Şimşek, the owner of the café, who had organised the concert, spoke of the importance of the street where the event took place, saying it had significant cultural value, representing an art hub and a testament to Diyarbakır’s rich heritage. He also expressed the determination to safeguard and promote Kurdish culture, stressing the significance of hosting a renowned Kurdish artist on this street, and explained that he had just reopened his venue after a decade of closure.

Efforts to promote and protect Kurdish culture face persistent challenges in Turkey and incidents of intolerance have increased during and since the May election campaign, due to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) constant appeal to nationalistic rhetoric.