Songlines | Turkey's public broadcaster bans 208 songs
29 March 2018

Turkey's public broadcaster bans 208 songs

By Alex de Lacey

Turkish Radio and Television Corporation banned a mix of Kurdish and Turkish songs

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The threat faced by musicians and artists in Turkey is nothing new. In 2008 YouTube access was completely blocked for Turkish residents for two years, while access to Wikipedia was revoked in 2017 and is yet to be reinstated. Last month, however, it was discovered that the country’s state broadcaster has taken further measures to police and moderate musicians’ output.

A list of 208 banned songs was finalised by the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation in 2016; however, this information did not become public knowledge until a member of the opposition party CHP (The Republican People’s Party) demanded an enquiry. This list includes a mix of songs in Kurdish and Turkish.

Upon speaking with Turkish academic Dr Yaman Akdeniz, of Bilgi University Law School, his fears of a return to the strict censorship of bygone years were very apparent: “On the one hand we could say ‘don’t bother watching TRT,’ however the majority of the population still do. The resurrection of a 1980s-style TRT blacklist of songs and singers is seriously worrying. These kinds of policies remain unacceptable in democratic societies.”

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