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Turkey: Protest Against Kurdish Singer Prompts Strong Social Media Response

Aynur Doğan, a Kurdish-Turkish singer, was jeered by part of the audience during an open air concert in the Istanbul Jazz Festival because she sang a song in Kurdish. Part of the audience sang the Turkish National Anthem in protest, while others in the audience supported the singer.

Eventually, she left the stage as the response from the audience got louder. The incident, according to some, was partly due to yesterday’s clashes between the Turkish army and Kurdish militants which claimed in total the lives of over a dozen men from both sides.

Macedonian minimalist musical concept band Baklava and the famous Turkish singer Aynur, opened the 9th Offest, Worldwide Music Festival. Skopje, Macedonia. Photo by by Mite Kuzevski, copyright Demotix (01/06/10)

Beyhan Demirci, who was in the audience, captured and posted the video of the singer leaving the stage and summarized the issue as [tr]:

‘Türkce soyle’ dediler, ‘şehitler ölmez’ dediler, ‘yuh’ dediler. Ve Aynur Doğan'ı sahneden indirdiler..

They said ‘Sing in Turkish’, they said ‘Martyrs are never dead’, they said ‘boo’. And [finally they] made Aynur Doğan leave the stage…

Meltem Gürler, who was also in the audience, reported the incident [tr]:

Acikhavada yerin dibine girdik, Aynur'u Kurtce sarkilarindan dolayi sahnede protesto ettiler. Aynur sahneyi terk etti.Burasi vahim durumda.

We are gravely embarrassed at the Open Air [Concert], [some] protested Aynur [while she was] at the stage because of her Kurdish songs. The situation was desperate.

Aslı Tunç, who was also attending the concert, reported [tr] that some of the protesters in the audience later left the concert after quarreling with others who supported the musician:

Izleyicilerin bir bolumu acik havayi terketti, tartismalar suruyor!

Some of the audience left the Open Air [Concert], dispute continues!

She also mentioned [tr] how some in the audience later on sang the national anthem as a protest:

Acik Hava'da rezalet suruyor! Bir kisim seyirci istiklal marsi soyleyip konseri sabote ediyor!

Disgrace continues at the Open Air [Concert]! Some [in] the audience are singing İstiklal anthem [Turkish National Anthem] to disrupt the concert!

The news spread quickly within social media networks before the traditional media sources could even get a hold of it. A lengthy discussion of intolerance and racism in Turkey began. Some however were more optimist despite the incident, @glcnavsar wrote [tr]:

Aynur Doğan'ı protesto edenler bu ülkedeki gelişimin öyle gerisinde ki umutsuzluk yaratamazlar artık; ancak utanç vesilesi olurlar.

Those who protest Aynur Doğan are way beyond the development within this country, to the point that they cannot cause despair; [and rather] become only a reason for shame.

Another well known Turkish singer, Yasemin Göksu, stated [tr] that she phoned and had a small chat with Aynur Doğan right after she heard about the incident:

… ben şimdi konuştm Aynur Doğan'la. Olayı anlattı, birkaç kişi provoke etmş ama dinleyici Aynur'u sahiplenmiş. Tabi morali bozulmuş ama iyi

I just talked with Aynur Doğan. She explained the incident, [apparently] a couple of people were provoked but the audience supported Aynur. Of course her morale is down but she is fine.

According to those who stayed until the end of the concert, Aynur Doğan received a standing ovation from the audience, shouting slogans for solidarity with Doğan and against racism, when she came to stage a second time with other musicians.

@degendary, who attended the concert, described [tr] the ending as:

Konser sona eriyor Aynur sahneye geldi herkes ayakta Aynur U alkışladı, yasasın halkların kardeşliği sloganları atıldı

Concert is ending, Aynur came to the stage, everybody is standing, applauding Aynur, shouting the slogan “long live the fellowship of [all] peoples”

Görgün Taner [tr], the head of IKSV, the foundation that organizes the Istanbul Jazz Festival, announced that:

Çok kulturlu seslerin yer aldığı konserler yapmaya devam edecegiz

We will continue organizing concerts where multi-cultural voices are present.

After the incident, a Facebook page declaring solidarity with Aynur Doğan and denouncing the attack was created.

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