Turkey bans concert in Diyarbakir by Kurdish singer Mem Ararat

The soloist said the Turkish governor's office asked for his songs and lyrics, then revoked an earlier permission he had received.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The Turkish governor of the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir revoked permission for a concert planned to take place next month by Kurdish singer Mem Ararat, the soloist told Kurdistan 24 on Tuesday.

"The organizers first received the permission, so we paid the fees for the concert hall and even arranged for private security," Ararat said, during a phone call. "I don't know what happened in the meantime, but later, an officer from the governor's office asked which songs I was going to sing; their Kurdish lyrics and translations into the Turkish language."

Ararat's musical repertoire, popular among the younger generation, ranges from traditional music to ethno-jazz and protest songs.

When asked if a request from authorities for song lists and lyrics are part of a standard part of performing, he said that he had experienced it before.

"You never know the reason for things in Turkey's current circumstances. We are confused and it has already cost us so much because of the preparations," he said, adding he had no intentions of contesting the refusal at the present time.

Ararat, who has been performing professionally since 2013, said that officials did not tell his team the reason for the ban, nor had he received any written statement from the governor's office.

"As you know, the [Turkish] state acts arbitrarily. This decision, too, is unlawful," the Mardin-born singer said. "We have an official, unofficially and through a phone call, telling us what we cannot do,"

His latest album which came out earlier this year is "Xewna Bajarekî" (A City's Dream). Along with two previous releases, "Kurdîka" and "Quling Ewr û Baran," many fans download it through online music streaming services.

In a post on his Twitter page, Ararat told his fans "not to worry."

"All governors will one day be retired and go back to their country," Ararat wrote. "And though, all the singers will one day die, the songs shall remain. You keep on singing; I shall do so."

Editing by John J. Catherine