Osman Kavala is in solitary confinement without charge in Istanbul for more than one year (see our post from November 21, 2017).
For over 30 years, he has been active in fostering culture and education in Turkey. As a member of numerous boards and president of the cultural institution »Anadolu Kültür«, which he founded 16 years ago, he’s constructed bridges in civil society from Turkey to Europe and neighbouring countries. The Turkish public prosecutor’s office has rejected four requests for his release. Like many other critical intellectuals in Turkey, he’s been subjected to untenable accusations: among other things, he’s been accused of participating in planning the attempted coup in July 2016. The European Court of Human Rights recently pre-accepted Osman Kavala’s application on the basis of Article 41 of its internal regulations.
Media reported that Iranian authorities have arrested two artists over a production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream after a promotional video posted on social media showed female actors dancing with male performers.
Prominent director, Maryam Kazemi, and the manager of the Teheran City Theatre, Saeed Assadi, were detained on September 9th. The play had already been showing for seven nights and only had one night left to run.
The “House of Theatre” in Teheran declaired its ofdficial protest against the detention after an extraordinary general meeting of its members on September 10. Both persons have been released after one night. Culture Minister Abbas Salehi later intervened to secure their release, according to state news agency IRNA, sparing them the bail of three billion rial (roughly $23,000 at the current unofficial rate) each, which had initially been demanded.
The Palestinian Theatre ASHTAR, established in Jerusalem in 1991, specializes in theatre training and acting programs, mainly in the form of Forum Theatre on community issues. The Al Mishal Theatre, ASHTAR’s second department in Gaza, has been destroyed by an Israeli air strike on 10 August as response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel before. At least 18 people were wounded. The building hold a library and offices for artistic associations including dance troupes and musicians. Intentional targeting of cultural property is illegal under international law (Israel has signed the Hague Convention).
“With great rage and deep pain, ASHTAR Theatre condemns the brutal attack of the Israeli occupation on Al Mishal Theatre in Gaza which flattened the 6 floors building to the ground. Al Mishal was the base of ASHTAR youth group in Gaza since 2008. It had been the stage to various productions of ASHTAR Theatre; The Gaza Monologues, Romeo and Juliet in Gaza, Hanin, The Flowers Garden, Hercules Children, and many more. The atrocities of the occupation had been escalating and it seems there is no bottom for their deterioration.”
Iman Aoun, Artistic Director, ASHTAR Theatre, Ramallah – Palestine
In it’s statement the Palestinian Performing Arts Network calls the UNESCO “to issue a statement and resolution condemning the destruction of Palestinian tangible cultural heritage, and demand the international community rebuild the Center and other cultural and artistic organizations destroyed by the Israeli occupation in Gaza Strip.”
The Guardian published a detailed report on August 22nd.
German-born actor and playwright Baris Atay was arrested by Turkish police officers two days ago. There was no reason announced for the arrest. Yet it can be seen as a reaction to critical remarks by Atay via twitter when he commented on Yusuf Yerkel, an advisor to president Erdogan.
Recently, after years of performing in his one-man show “Only A Dictator”, Baris Atay has also been banned from the stage in several Turkish cities.
“Heartbeat: Silence after the Explosion” was the performance which was attacked by a suicide bombing on December 11, 2014. When violence hits a second time, some of the artists went back on stage, playing the most daring piece they imaginable, on the streets of Kabul, unprotected.
The new documentary film TRUE WARRIORS tells the story of the actors and the musicians who were on stage that day.
An open letter, intitiated by Shermin Langhoff, artistic director of Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, and signed by German and international artists and curators, calls for the immediate release of Osman Kavala.
Kavala, founder of Anadolu Kultur, was arrested in Istanbul on 18 October, allegedly having been involved in the attempted coup in July 2016.