Sunday, July 19, 2009

Conservative Vakit Causes Firestorm Outside Topkapı

From Jenny White at Kamil Pasha:
On the evening of July 11, the world-renowned classical pianist Idil Biret and the Whitehall Orchestra performed at the Topkapi Palace, one of the early palaces of the Ottoman Empire, now a museum that contains the artifacts of empire — among them the Ottoman crown jewels and important Islamic relics. For decades parts of the palace, especially the vast courtyards, have been the site of world-class music concerts. The day before, a far-right Islamist newspaper Vakit had fomented against the fact that alcohol was to be served at this concert in the hallowed halls of an Ottoman palace in proximity to the relics and at a time of concern for outrages against the (Muslim) Turkic Uighurs in China. A group of fifty to a hundred protestors led by an ultranationalist group called the Alperenler Hearth rampaged in front of the concert doors, calling out Allahu Akbar and tearing down and burning the concert posters. They knelt on a Turkish flag (the Vakit account states they knelt on an Alperen flag) to pray. The show went on as planned, but the performers had to escape out the back door. The Alperenler crowd, held in check by the police, then made its way through local neighborhoods shouting Allahu Akbar.
For full post with analysis, click here.

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