The Turkish government has banned a concert planned to be given by Kurdish singer Mem Ararat, according to a report by Kurdistan 24.
The report said the Diyarbakır governor revoked permission for a concert to take place next month by Ararat.
The soloist told Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday that “the organizers first received permission, so we paid the fees for the concert hall and even arranged for private security. I don’t know what happened in the meantime, but later an officer from the governor’s office asked which songs I was going to sing, their Kurdish lyrics and the translations into Turkish.”
Ararat’s musical repertoire, popular among the younger generation, ranges from traditional music to ethnic-jazz and protest songs.
When asked if a request from authorities for song lists and lyrics are a standard part of performing, he said he had experienced it before. “You never know the reason for things in Turkey’s current circumstances. We are confused, and it has already cost us much because of the preparations,” he said, adding he had no intention of contesting the refusal at the present time.
Ararat, who has been performing professionally since 2013, said officials did not tell his team the reason for the ban nor had he received any written statement from the governor’s office. “As you know, the Turkish state acts arbitrarily. This decision, too, is unlawful,” the Mardin-born singer said.
His latest album, released earlier this year, is “Xewna Bajarekî — A City’s Dream.” Along with two previous releases, “Kurdîka” and “Quling Ewr û Baran,” many fans download it through online music streaming services.
In a post on his Twitter page, Ararat told his fans “not to worry.”
“All governors will one day be retired and go back to their country,” Ararat wrote. “And although all singers will die one day, their songs will remain. Keep on singing; I’ll do the same.”