Solidarity with activists, artists and human rights defenders in Turkey.

A few days before the Assembly of the Commons to be held in Lyon this Saturday, November 11, we would like to call for solidarity with activists, artists and human rights defenders in Turkey.

We would particularly like to draw your attention to the « Starting from the Middle » exhibition, which has been the subject of fierce attack for several months.

Photos: Model of Feshane Next Planning

A report was broadcast this morning on France Culture at prime time (720,000 listeners every day). .

Earlier this summer, in Istanbul, an exhibition entitled « Commencer par le milieu », a reference to Gilles Deleuze, had to close its doors for a few days after being the target of repeated attacks.

One of the curators, Feyyaz Yaman, says « A veiled woman came to see the exhibition. She filmed. Then she posted her images and comments on social networks, YouTube and Instagram. She was on TV, on the news. And in the process, people from various religious foundations arrived here. hey were about 17 years old. They came, they said that this exhibition represented Satanism, that it was about LGBT works and insults to religion, that it was an exhibition against the nation, against the state and against our traditions. At the entrance were statues by an artist, Gönul Nuhöglu. She had depicted goats. They broke one of them. And they filmed themselves destroying her work. They shared the images. It was very organized.

Highly organized provocateurs

According to researcher Jean-François Pérouse, provocateurs are on the rise.

« A number of pressure groups have gone on the offensive, energized by the AKP’s victory in the recent elections. These are essentially conservative associations, brotherhoods, neo-brotherhoods and foundations with an agenda to moralize society », he explains, « an agenda they would like to impose on the AKP, which has remained relatively cautious until now. These groups are negotiating an agenda for a return to values considered to be closer to the true Turkish moral values that have been forgotten in the long drift of Republican history over the past 100 years. There is a desire, for example, to preserve a certain number of places considered sacred and not to be contaminated by, let’s say, the decadent moral universe of the West. »

The exhibition also had the drawback of being held in a place that some people consider sacred.

We saw this during the campaign against the exhibition, » continues Jean-François Pérouse. It was close to one of the holiest sites in Sunni Islam, but the limits of this sacred site are gradually being pushed back. And this sanctuarization is now affecting places that were previously preserved, on the periphery of the sanctuary itself. And now the trend, since these moralizing actors have the wind in their sails, is to extend the sanctuarized areas and to be a little more demanding about respect for certain personalities, respect for certain moments, it’s really an action that plays on symbols but wants to review the dominant symbolic balance, the symbolic economy in Turkey. »

A report on this exhibition was broadcast on Tuesday November 8 on France Culture at prime time (720,000 listeners every day).