Mathlouthi: I couldn’t sing in Kurdish in Istanbul but I will sing in Diyarbakır

Tunisian artist Emel Mathlouthi, who could not take the stage at the Newroz celebration in Istanbul due to arbitr obstructions, said: "Every language and culture is a richness. It is unacceptable to ban or prevent art."


Tunisian artist Emel Mathlouthi, who came to Turkey as a guest of the Newroz Committee, could not perform at the celebrations in Yenikapı due to the arbitrary time limitations imposed by the Istanbul Governorate. Mahtlouthi, who was prevented from entering the protocol vehicle entrance by the police on the pretext of her licence plate during Sunday's celebrations, was only able to enter the platform after intense discussions at the other gate, to which she walked with her musician team. This time, however, she was confronted with the arbitrary time limit imposed by the governor’s office for Newroz celebrations. Saddened and surprised by what happened, Mathlouthi spoke to ANF.

'I fell in love with Kurdish music'

Pointing out that it was the first time she had been subjected to such obstacles in a country she had visited, Mahthouthi said, "I really wanted to sing Kurdish songs with Kurdish artists at the Istanbul Newroz because I love Kurdish music and culture very much. But unfortunately, I encountered obstacles one after another, which made me very sad."

Mahthouthi said that she always gave her first concerts to Kurds, whether in Turkey or Romania, and added: "I met Kurdish music by listening to Aynur Doğan. I fell in love with both Kurdish music and Kurdish culture. It is a marvellous culture and I hope that one day we will celebrate it together."

'Every language and culture is a richness'

Mathlouthi underlined that it is unacceptable that the Kurdish language and music have been denied in Turkey for years, that concerts are banned and Kurdish is labelled an unknown language, and noted that every language and culture is a richness. Emphasising that culture is unifying, Mathlouthi said: "Music, culture and art is an important issue that unites but does not separate us, and it is a very important factor for people to understand each other. Culture, music and art are the most powerful things we can pass on. It is unacceptable to ban or prevent the arts.”

'Everyone has the right to express themselves in their own language'

The Tunisian artist continued: “Everyone has the right to speak and express themselves in their own language or in the language in which they feel comfortable. Each language has its own richness. For example, Kurdish and Turkish are two different languages. When I listen to music in both languages, I immediately feel the difference in rhythm and quality. Kurdish is a very musical language, and it is a language that affects me a lot. I could not sing in Kurdish at the Istanbul Newroz, but I will sing in Diyarbakır on 21 March."