Kurdish theatre to be screened in Istanbul City Theatre, first time in over 100 years

Theatre players of Mesopotamia Cultural Centre (MKM) will stage a play in Kurdish in Istanbul City Theatre for the first time since the scene was established in 1914 under Ottoman Empire, Bianet news website said on Wednesday.

Teatra Jiyana Nû, the New Life Theatre, will stage a piece called "Faceless" penned by Dario Fo, Bianet said.

Last year, Turkish authorities banned a Kurdish theatre event in the southern city of Adana, organised by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), on the grounds that it represented a security threat.

Kurdish language and culture have been criminalised off and on since the earliest years of the Turkish Republic.

In 2012, hoping to charm Kurdish voters, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) began granting greater freedoms to the Kurdish language. For the first time in the country’s history, Turkish authorities legalised Kurdish as an elective course in high schools.

In 2014, the foundation of private minority-language schools was allowed. But since the mid-2015 breakdown of the peace process between Turkey and the Kurdish militia fighting an insurgency in the country’s southeast, the repression has returned. Countless Kurdish media organisations, associations, language schools, and cultural institutions have been shut down.

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