MKM: We do not recognise the ban on our 32nd anniversary concert

After the banning of the 32nd anniversary concert, MKM will hold concerts at DEM Party Bağcılar and Sancaktepe district buildings at 18:00 and invited all people to the concerts.

Turkish authorities yesterday banned the Mesopotamia Cultural Centre's (MKM) 32nd anniversary concert, which was set to take place today at Yahya Kemal Beyatlı Performing Arts Centre in Küçükcekmece, Istanbul with the slogan "Free future, free art". According to the MKM statement on Friday, the concert was banned without any justification.

At a press conference in Istanbul on Saturday, MKM denounced the ban and announced two concerts in the district associations of the DEM party in Bağcılar and Sancaktepe at 6 pm today instead of the planned event, inviting people to their concerts.

Rewşen Apaydın from Gölge Culture and Art read the press statement. She pointed out that the existence of a people can be possible with its language, culture and art, and that MKM has been protecting Kurdish culture and art with great resistance and struggle for 32 years since its foundation. "This tradition of resistance and struggle has given great inspiration and strength to all peoples living in this country,” she said.

Apaydın stated: "Kurdish cultural and artistic works, which have such a deep-rooted tradition and heritage, have been under the grip of genocide in recent years. Since the foundation of the Republic, a prohibitive and denialist policy against Kurdish culture has been maintained. However, in recent years, this policy has been deepened even more.  As it is known, as MKM laborers, we were aiming to celebrate our 32nd anniversary with a big concert at Yahya Kemal Beyatlı Show Centre on 16 December with the slogan 'Roja Azad, Hunera Azad'. However, Küçükçekmece District Governorship continued its prohibitive, denialist and assimilationist policies this year as in previous years. Our foundation anniversary and celebrations have been banned by Küçükçekmece District Governorate for two years for arbitrary reasons.”

The statement continued: “We know that the decision is purely political and arbitrary. Therefore, we do not recognise the decision. We want to emphasise clearly that this decision is null and void for us because art can never be banned.  These bans are the continuation of a centuries-old cultural assimilation. It is also part of the political atmosphere we are going through. There is an attack and isolation against all kinds of will and values developed on behalf of the Kurdish people's struggle for freedom.  Although our concert was banned for arbitrary reasons, we, as the members of the Mesopotamia Cultural Centre, do not recognise the policies of isolation and bans. We will smash all obstacles aimed at stopping Kurdish culture with our songs, dances and trills."

Rewşen Apaydın stated that they will organise two big concerts today against their banned concert. She announced that they will hold the concerts at DEM Party Bağcılar and Sancaktepe district buildings at 18:00 and invited all people to the concerts.

The Mesopotamia Cultural Centre was founded in Istanbul in 1991. Its best-known co-founder was the Kurdish writer Musa Anter, who was murdered by the Turkish state in 1992. The cultural centre made valuable contributions in the fields of music, theatre, dance, film and literature against the assimilation and ignorance to which Kurdish culture is exposed, particularly in Turkey. After Istanbul, branches were founded in several Kurdish cities, all of which have since been closed by the Erdoğan regime.