MARIBOR, Slovenia (Kurdistan24) – An exhibition on Kurds in Syria put on display in a gallery in Maribor was closed early after an intervention from the Turkish Embassy in Slovenia.
The embassy claimed the exhibition was promoting illegal terrorist groups, referring to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliated armed branches currently leading the fight against the Islamic State (IS) in Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital in Syria.
The exhibition “War and the WWW: Kurds in Syria and Networking Websites” was open for one week at the EPEKA Gallery in Maribor before being closed prematurely.
According to a public statement by the Membrana Institute, an organizer of several educational, research, and cultural activities related to photography in Slovenia, the exhibit was supposed to be open to the public from May 5 to June 9.
Following an intervention by the Embassy of Turkey in Slovenia, the exhibition was shut down on May 12.
Information on the exhibition, nevertheless, is still available on EPEKA’s webpage.
In the public statement, Membrana and the authors of the presentation Jan Babnik, Iza Pevec, and Uroš Abram saw the early closure of the exhibition as “inadmissible censorship of the freedom of expression and artistic creation.”
“We strongly condemn the intervention of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey in Slovenia, viewing it as an encroachment on the autonomous operations and activities of an independent non-governmental organization in Slovenia,” the statement declared.
“We also strongly condemn the decision of EPEKA’s management to yield to the pressure imposed by the Turkish Embassy, which led to the premature closure of the exhibition,” the report added.
Turkey labels the YPG as “terrorist” for controversial ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been waging a decades-long guerrilla warfare on Turkish troops for larger Kurdish rights.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany