Istanbul authorities ban unprecedented Kurdish-language play

Istanbul authorities ban unprecedented Kurdish-language play
A file photo shows staff members spray disinfectant at a theatre on in Yantai, a city in China's eastern Shandong province. (Photo: AFP)
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Updated 13 October 2020

Istanbul authorities ban unprecedented Kurdish-language play

Istanbul authorities ban unprecedented Kurdish-language play

ISTANBUL: Turkish authorities have banned a Kurdish-language play that was due to be shown on Tuesday in Istanbul’s municipal theater for the first time in its 106-year history, organizers told AFP.
The play “Beru” was included in the October program of the Istanbul Municipality City Theatre, which is funded by the opposition-run municipality, to much fanfare.
No reason was given for the last-minute ban, but the Turkish state has long had a troubled relationship with its Kurdish minority.
The municipal theater has 10 stages dotted round Istanbul and had decided to take on some work from independent theaters that are struggling in the coronavirus pandemic.
“Beru” was translated into Kurdish from “Trumpets and Raspberries,” a piece of work by Nobel Literature Prize winner Dario Fo, an Italian satirist and playwright.
It was due to be shown in the Gaziosmanpasa neighborhood at 1730 GMT, performed by Teatra Jiyana Nu (New Life Theatre), an independent theater group.
The decision to ban the play was made by the local administration in Gaziosmanpasa and the theater was only informed at 1300 GMT, one of the organizers told AFP.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AKP government took steps to improve cultural and linguistic rights as part of its Kurdish initiative announced in 2009 when he was prime minister.
These included allowing Kurdish-language institutions and media outlets, and kindergartens that teach children in Kurdish.
But with the resumption of violence in the Kurdish majority southeast between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after the collapse of a fragile truce 2015, the government has launched a crackdown on Kurdish media organizations and culture centers.
That has increased in the aftermath of a failed 2016 coup.
The government has removed 48 elected mayors of Kurdish-run municipalities and replaced them with “trustees.” Dozens of pro-Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terrorism charges.


Pfizer cuts vaccine deliveries by as much as half to some EU countries

Pfizer cuts vaccine deliveries by as much as half to some EU countries
Updated 21 January 2021

Pfizer cuts vaccine deliveries by as much as half to some EU countries

Pfizer cuts vaccine deliveries by as much as half to some EU countries

BUCHAREST/PRAGUE/SOFIA: Pfizer has slashed in half the volume of COVID-19 vaccines it will deliver to some EU countries this week, government officials said on Thursday, as frustration over the US drugmaker’s unexpected cut in supplies grows.
Romania will get 50% of its planned volume this week and supplies will only improve gradually, with deliveries not returning to normal until the end of March, Deputy Health Minister Andrei Baciu told Reuters.
It was a similar situation in Poland which on Monday received 176,000 doses, a drop of around 50% from what was expected, authorities said.
The Czech government was bracing for the disruption to last weeks, slowing its vaccination campaign just as the second dose of vaccinations get under way.
“We have to expect that there will be a reduction in the number of open vaccination appointments in the following three weeks,” Health Minister Jan Blatny told reporters on Thursday, with Pfizer deliveries falling by about 15% this week and as much as 30% for the following two weeks.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have declined to comment on the cuts beyond their statement last week, which announced cuts to deliveries as they ramp up manufacturing in Europe.
Some countries reckon they can handle it. Norway has an emergency stockpile and will continue administering doses as planned, the government’s public health body said.
The US drugmaker has told Bulgaria and Poland it will replace missing doses, top officials said.
But Denmark’s Serum Institute said its 50% loss of shots this week would lead to a 10% shortfall for the first quarter.
With governments across the region still reeling from the surprise cuts, officials say the reductions are undermining their efforts to inoculate their citizens and tame the pandemic which has killed more than 2 million people.
On Wednesday, Italy threatened legal action against Pfizer.
In Hungary, where the authorities gave the go ahead for the use of Britain’s AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines ahead of the EU drug regulator, a senior official called on Brussels to try and ensure deliveries from Pfizer and other vaccine makers would stick to schedule.
“We would be happy if the (European) Commission could take steps as soon as possible to ensure that Pfizer and other manufacturers would change deliveries,” Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff Gergely Gulyas said.
The problem has spread to countries outside the trading bloc too — Canada is facing delays as is Switzerland, where the mountain canton of Grisons got only 1,000 shots from Pfizer this week, far short of the 3,000 it had been anticipating.