Words by Gus Isherwood
Music plays key role in Turkey’s protest demonstrations
The recent unrest and political intransigence in Turkey hasn’t driven the public into their homes shrouded in anxiety and fear. Instead, the country’s indignant population are transforming their vexation into a feast of music, dancing, literature, comedy and art, including folk dance, orchestral recitals, chess competitions and yoga sessions.
Istanbul’s Gezi Park, which, to the dismay of local citizens, was to be redeveloped to make room for a shopping mall and mosque under the instruction of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has instead been converted into a festival site, bringing people together to share their views and creative talents. As British Turkish actor Philip Arditti enthuses, Gezi Park is host to ‘a festival of solidarity, equality, peaceful coexistence, creativity and diversity.’
As has been the case throughout the Arab Spring, musicians are playing a fundamental role in Turkey’s political demonstrations, voicing the opinions of the masses and challenging political agendas. One such popular musical outfit in Istanbul is Kardes Turkuler, one of the many ‘pots and pans’ groups emerging throughout the city. Every night at 9pm, Istanbul’s neighbourhoods resonate with the sound of crockery and cutlery, as large numbers of such groups take their cookware to the streets in protest to an increasingly conservative government.
Humour and satire are also proving a powerful tool in Turkey’s demonstrations. Protestors have re-appropriated Erdogan’s term for them – çapulcu’ (roughly translated as ‘looters’) – and are now expressing their pride in ‘chapulling’ (translated as ‘fighting for your rights’) every day. This is done through song, chant and graffiti, all to be witnessed across the city’s streets. The following video went viral on June 5:
Check out a video of Kardes Turkuler performing ‘Tencere Tava Havasi’ (Sound of Pots and Pans):