Kurdish MP sings Kurdish song in parliament to protest arrest of musicians

Meral Danış Beştaş, the deputy chairwoman of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), sang a Kurdish song in parliament on Monday to protest the arrest of a group of Kurdish musicians in Istanbul this week and bans on Kurdish music.

Danış Beştaş sang the song entitled ‘Yara Mina Bedewe’ (My Beautiful Wound’), during a news conference at the parliament. The Birgün newspaper was among local media publishing a video of her performance and statement.

“Our language is our existence. Our language is our future. We will always protect our mother language," she said. “You cannot ban any of the ancient languages, you cannot ban the Kurdish language.”

On Saturday, Turkish police detained four street musicians performing the same Kurdish song in Istanbul’s historic Istiklal Avenue, the famous street running off Taksim Square, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

"I own this square, I own everywhere, I’m the one in charge here and you’re not allowed to make this music,” a policemen told the musicians, according to a video distributed on social media, Mezopotamya said.

Kurdish songs and live performances have faced periodical and ad-hoc bans in Turkey over the past few decades during a war between the Turkish military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which seeks autonomy for Turkey’s Kurds. In October 2020, the governor of Istanbul banned the Kurdish theatrical play "Beru" shortly before its first performance. It had been performed for three years both in Turkey and abroad.   

Danış Beştaş criticised a decree issued by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Jan. 28 barring media from broadcasting content deemed "against the national and spiritual values of society". She characterised the decree as a "circular of censorship” that was against the nation’s Constitution.

"Erdoğan sees himself above the Constitution,” she said, according to news website Bianet. “Even according to a coup Constitution, the president cannot issue a decree about fundamental rights.

"Where did this police officer derive this power? From the one at the Palace. The system of bans starts there. They think they can continue to govern by banning everything they don't want in the country,” Danış Beştaş said.

The musicians arrested in Istanbul were beaten during their detention, Mezopotamya said.



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