Turkish pianist says gov’t funding for concert in Japan cancelled over retweets

Pianist Selen Gülün

Turkish government has cancelled state-funding for an upcoming concert in Japan by the acclaimed pianist Selen Gülün over some of her postings on social media, according to the musician.

“It is because I retweeted the Ümit Kıvanç’s column on Diyarbakır! Our president was called as terrorist in the article and I am claimed to have called him terrorist as well,” Gülün said in a series of tweets on Apr 6.

“I had planned this project before they asked to sponsor it, saying: ‘We want to market Turkey’s modern face.’ Now this is the result!” she continued.

Gülün has received many awards for her performances and compositions including the Charles Mingus Composition Award 1998 and the British Council Visiting Arts, Creative Collaboration in Music 2003 while her compositions have been premiered by the Dartford Symphony Orchestra and the Vellinger String Quartet (UK), Phil Wilson’s Rainbow Band (USA), Ensemble TRIS (Austria), sa.ne.na Percussion Ensemble, and Istanbul Modern Music Ensemble (Turkey).

The column in question criticizes the killing of a young man, Kemal Kurkut by a police officer during Nevruz celebrations in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır in March 21, on suspicion that he was a suicide bomber.

Kurkut was studying at İnönü University’s fine arts faculty department of music. Police found poetry books and clothes in the backpack of Kemal Kurkut although Diyarbakır governor’s office claimed that Kurkut had told police “There’s a bomb in my bag.” (turkeypurge.com) April 10, 2017

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