Free Speech

Court requests the script and staging information of banned Kurdish play

In the interim decision ruled as a response to the lawsuit filed for the suspension of the execution of the banning of the Kurdish play “Bêrû”, İstanbul 2nd Administrative Court requested the script and past staging information of the play from İstanbul’s Gaziosmanpaşa District Governorship and the Directorate of the City Theatres.

On October 13, the Kurdish adaptation of Dario Fo’s play, “Bêrû: Klakson Borîzan û Birt” by Teatra Jiyana Nû, was banned by the district governorship hours before its staging at the City Theatres of İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s Gaziosmanpaşa Stage.

Media and Law Studies Association (MLSA) lawyers had applied to İstanbul 2nd Administrative Court for the suspension of the execution of this decision, filing a lawsuit on behalf of Barış Altıntaş, an audience member, claiming that the decision was a violation of freedom of expression.

The Court made an interim decision on November 20, requesting from the Gaziosmanpaşa District Governorship, the script and its Turkish translation if available, in addition to being informed on whether there were any applications made to legal and administrative authorities on the staging of the play. The Court also requested detailed information regarding the play’s past stagings from the Directorate of City Theatres.

Violation of the right to freedom of expression

Gaziosmanpaşa District Governorship had noted that Bêrû’s staging was banned on the grounds that it would disturb “the peace and security of the public.”

MLSA lawyers, who carried the decision to the administrative court, underscored the fact that the decision to ban the play was in violation of the rights of those who demand to see plays in Kurdish. Moreover, it was claimed that the district governorship’s decision was in violation of the Turkish Constitution, as it constituted the violation of the freedom of expression of both the theatre company, and the members of the audience.

Bêrû was banned for the second time, on November 14, by the Urfa Governorship hours before its staging at the Urfa Bar Association’s Tahir Elçi Conference Hall.