June 23, 2014

İzmir Governor's Office bans outdoor screenings of culture festivals

Following the government's prevention of the staging in Turkey of the 12th Language and Culture Festival -- formerly known as the Turkish Olympiads -- the İzmir Governor's Office, prior to the finale of the festival on Saturday, banned the public screening of all festivals and similar events.

An official warning was sent to the local governors' offices in districts of İzmir province and police and gendarmerie stations on June 20 with the signature of the acting governor of İzmir, Mustafa Harputlu, instructing officials not to allow any public or outdoor celebrations, festivals or cultural events.

The statement further said that legal action will be taken against anyone who does not obey the instructions. As a result, previous permissions were canceled in places like Kasaplar Square, Karabağlar, Buca, Gaziemir, Bornova and Bozyaka in İzmir.

Although police failed to present the order of the governor's office, Eskiizmir Culture and Solidarity Association was only able to screen the finale of the Language and Culture Festival held in Germany on a big-screen television in front of their premises.

Outdoor celebrations, festivals and even weddings are common in İzmir, especially during the summer months. As a result, some consider the unusual ban to be a deliberate attempt to prevent the broadcasting of the Language and Culture Festival, which is organized by the Hizmet movement. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently asked Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) mayors and party officials to revoke the licenses of all institutions that are affiliated with the Hizmet movement.

Published on Cihan, 23 June 2014, Monday

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