Talking Turkey: Cultural Ambassador ‘Defects’
Fazil Say, one of Turkey’s most famous musicians, now in Germany as a cultural ambassador to the EU, has announced that he will not return to Turkey in the face of growing Islamism in Turkey:
I am opposed to Turkey returning to the darkness of the Middle Ages, for I am of a culture that supports contemporary civilisation. Although as a composer and pianist I represent European musical culture, I have never disaffiliated myself with my native Anatolian culture. Everybody knows this. All my work incorporates folk culture. This is why I think the European Union chose me as ‘ambassador’ in the year of ‘intercultural dialogue’.
Despite all these things, the current government has not behaved amicably towards me and music in general. The first minister of culture of the government managed to censor my oratorio entitled ‘Elegy to Metin Altıok’. I will never forget this.
The best example of the belittling of the art of music can be seen in the Ministry of National Education’s initiative last year to remove music and art lessons in schools.
The Turkish Minister of Education has reacted by promising a law suit against Say.