Turkish police raid cultural center during a film screening

A cultural center raided by the Turkish police many times last year has been raided again during the showing of a film

Turkish police raid cultural center during a film screening

Turkish government has escalated its attacks on progressives, Kurds, and simply all opposition and dissent. Cultural events are no exception.

A cultural center raided by the Turkish police many times last year has been raided again during the showing of a film.

The cultural center Idil serves as a center for musical education where children and adults come to learn music theory and learn how to play musical instruments.

One of the cultural targets of the current AKP government has been the musicians and artists who do not toe the Islamic, right wing, and racist policies of the government.  Faced with economic warfare and not able to perform, many mainstream artists have succumbed to the pressures and have come out giving statements supporting the government.  These artists were quickly labeled as “yandaş” or “yalaka” a term that loosely translates into back-licker or ally of the government.  These artists are invited to any cultural event organized by the AKP government and are allowed to perform on government or government friendly TV stations.  In return the relatives of these “artists” are granted lucrative government contracts.

However, for those artists who have refused to surrender their independence have been severely punished by the AKP government.  One such musical group is Grup Yorum whose concerts have been banned and the members have been arrested at every opportunity.  The members have been beaten during arrests and have been tortured under arrest.   Currently the musicians of this group are on hunger strike even under arrest to protest the government pressures on the people, musician and specifically their musical group.  They have proven to be a symbol of resistance to fascism in the cultural sphere of the country.

Idil Cultural Center in Istanbul is one of the centers that the government targets.  It has been raided before for no apparent reason than to destroy it.  The police broke every single musical instrument in these raids, and destroyed the doors, walls and equipment.  Needless to say, even the visitors of the center were all detained and endured long questioning by the police.

Recently the musical Grup Yorum released an invite for a progressive film screening in Idil Cultural Center in Istanbul for last night, November 28th, 2019.  This must have triggered the police departments to pay the center a visit.

During the screening at 7:00PM local Istanbul time, the police barged in, broke windows and doors and inflicted heavy damage as usual.    The film viewers were beaten and tortured at the center before all were taken into custody.

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