The Vakit newspaper published an article entitled “Alcohol will flow like water in the sacred place” about a concert by world-famous pianist İdil Biret in Topkapı Palace.
The article incited around 50 protesters, members of the ultranationalist Alperen Hearths, to gather in front of the palace in protest on 11 July, as the concert was taking place. They were prevented by the police from entering the building.
Biret said after the concert, “The unifying spirit of music has been damaged.”
Ertuğrul Günay, Minister of Culture and Tourism, said, “No one will allow such absurd attempts by those pitiful people who want to take Turkey backwards.”
“Looking for someone to attack”
Biret’s husband Şefik Büyükyüksel said: “You should have seen those men: if someone had pointed out someone saying ‘This is the pianist who is going to perform,’ they would have attacked and stabbed her. They were furious and looking for someone to attack.”
He added that they would not go to court against the Vakit newspaper, out of fear that they would be turned into targets and their lives be endangered.
Mustafa Destici, chair of the nationalist Great Union Party (BBP), defended the protest, saying, “They had heard something about ‘bring your own bottle to Topkapı Palace.’ They were just showing their reactions democratically.”
Ahmet Abakay, president of the Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD), condemned the provocational campaign organised by the newspaper against the concert on the Internet as “disgraceful”.
“The newspaper management has to question its own behaviour. The media cannot arrange conspiracies against freedom of thought or art, and it cannot pretend that this is journalism.”
He further called on the press prosecutor to carry out an investigation. (BÇ/AG)