Culture war

April 23, 2012, Monday/ 17:03:00

It is obvious who is right in the debate over the İstanbul City Theaters. [An İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality decision to change the regulations governing the municipality-owned İstanbul City Theaters has sparked a controversy over the independence of the institution.]

It is of course the theater’s job to decide which play is to be staged or who will act in a play. But the debates will not end easily as it is not a new crisis; it has been there throughout the republican era. The ideology of the republic regarded culture as a powerful weapon in shaping the mindset of the people and started to dominate it. And none of the political parties that came to power questioned this perception. They only applied it according to their own ideologies and political views. Some dominated the cultural events through a religious lens while others dominated it through a nationalist lens. It is true that today the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is doing the same and it is doing it wrong. But let’s not pretend that it is the only party doing so.