Turkey: Children’s play banned due to “inappropriate” song

Serap Gültekin
A play that has been staged for children for the last 14 years was banned in the Çankaya District Directorate of Education of Turkey’s capital Ankara for having one song deemed “inappropriate”, reported Today’s Zaman on 14 January 2016.

Playwright Serap Gültekin told newspaper Radikal that the application to stage her play ‘My Chess Pieces’ was rejected because one of the songs in the play and the character of ‘Shah’ (the king chess piece) could cause children to link those references to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

While the Çankaya District said it has the right to censor works they consider innapropriate, the Yenimahalle District Directorate of Education, also in Ankara, granted permission to stage the play and said the “play did not include any content that could have negative effects on children”.

The playwright’s lawyer Ahmet Toköz has filed a complaint against the decision, calling it “troubling” as well as the directorate’s description of the play as “inconvenient and undesirable”.

“In a period in which we are hoping for a more democratic constitution that promotes freedom, a work of art has been banned simply because it was considered inconvenient,” he told Radikal.

The title of the “offensive” song is ‘This is my palace and I can do whatever I want’ and the play has been staged across Turkey hundreds of times.


Sources

» Today’s Zaman – 14 January 2016:
District bans play for children due to reference to ‘palace’ in song

» Radikal – 14 January 2016:
Checkmate!

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