Veteran actor/director Kenan Işık has stepped down from his post as art consultant for İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, Turkish media outlets reported on Thursday.
Işık's decision came after a series of resignations at the municipal theater, İstanbul City Theaters, following the municipality's decision to change its theater regulations. While the changes have been called a democratic move by Topbaş, the move is seen by the seven İstanbul City Theaters managers who have stepped down from their posts, including the theaters' general art director, Ayşe Nil Şamlıoğlu, as an effort to establish the dominance of bureaucrats.
The most controversial change in the regulations concerns the repertoire of plays. The new regulations will transfer the authority of the İstanbul City Theaters general art director to the hands of a newly formed council, called the Literary Council, in an attempt to open İstanbul City Theaters to a wider variety of ideas. The change will pave the way for individuals other than artists to have a say in the plays the theaters put on, as the council will be composed of not only theater artists but representatives of civil society organizations, academics and managers from the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
Işık reportedly called Topbaş to inform him about his decision, saying, “I love you, but I have to resign after what has happened [the new regulations and resignations].” Işık worked as the general art director of the İstanbul City Theaters from 1996-2000 and as Topbaş's art consultant since 2007.