Error: 3002 Source: GeoIP.asp line 56: File could not be opened. Turkey: Gallery Attack Ignites Debate, Questions Remain
The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Turkey: Gallery Attack Ignites Debate, Questions Remain
Two women seen in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, Sept. 24, 2010. The motives for the brazen attack this week in central Istanbul have yet to be fully explained, though half a dozen suspects were detained. Whether an isolated incident or not, it renewed debate about fast-paced change in Turkey, a cauldron of jostling influences: rich and poor, modern and traditional, secular and Islamic, democratic and authoritarian. AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta.

By: Christopher Torchia, Associated Press Writer

ISTANBUL (AP).- The gang of several dozen men with sticks and pepper spray moved methodically from one art gallery to the next, assaulting overflow crowds that had spilled into the streets during the joint opening of several exhibitions in the center of Istanbul.

"You don't want us, so we don't want you," Nazim Hikmet Richard Dikbas, an artist, recalled one of the assailants saying. Hikmet was struck on the head with a club, and received several stitches at a hospital for a hairline injury.

Half a dozen suspects were detained in last week's brazen attack, which has yet to be fully explained. Such outbursts of mob rage are rare and Istanbul has a relatively low rate of violent crime, but the gallery beatings highlighted Turkey's struggle to reconcile sharp differences in a society marked by extremes of rich and poor, modern and traditional, secular and Islamic, democratic and authoritarian.

Once shackled by crisis and conflict, Turkey has emerged as a regional power, evident in its high-profile role at the U.N. Security Council summit in New York this week. The Sept. 21 attack in Tophane district, however, recalled a dark world of impunity and vigilante justice that hindered Turkey's modern development, and that the nation's leaders have sought to consign to the past.

"Those who present the incident in Tophane as a panorama of Turkey are engaged in an extremely stale game," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday. "We will not accept any provocation just as we will not allow any outlawed behavior."

Still, Tophane, a cluttered area that slopes down to the Bosporus Strait separating the Asian and European continents, hosts two entirely different ways of life, side by side. Bearded men with prayer beads sip tea at sidewalk tables. Some women wear traditional shawls; a few have Islamic veils. Then there are the young artists and collectors, urbane denizens of Tophane's 10 or so galleries. A chat in German — tourists on a tight budget — flowed from one doorway.

These two worlds, roughly defined as conservative and liberal, occupy a cluster of narrow streets where privacy is scarce. Many galleries sprouted in Tophane, one of Istanbul's oldest neighborhoods, in the last few years, buoyed by a surge in international interest in Turkish art.

Oya Baturalp, a 58-year-old hotel manager who grew up in Tophane, said the district has some "bullies and tough guys" and that the newcomers were seen as snobbish and disruptive.

"We were neighbors with gypsies, southeastern migrants, Italians and Greeks back when I was a young girl," Baturalp said. "We would hop over the occasional drunkard in our doorway when we left home for school. These people are not new in Istanbul. We have always known how to live together, but there was never such intolerance and a 'you are scum' type of attitude in the elite."

Some residents had complained about alcohol consumption at the galleries, suggesting religious values might have shaped hostility. Islam forbids drinking alcohol. The polarizing topic of religion in Turkey pits a government led by pious Muslims against the waning power of hardline secularists, including the military and top judges.

On the night of the attack, some galleries served alcoholic punch or wine in plastic cups, though at least one visitor was seen with a beer can on the street. At least five people were injured and some windows were broken, and witnesses said arriving police did not intervene in some assaults. The attackers did not enter the galleries.

"It was like a battlefield. They were hitting people constantly," said Dikbas, who said the attitude of the attackers resembled — on a small scale — that of the mobs that targeted the homes and shops of the Greek minority during deadly riots in Istanbul in 1955.

One theory among artists is that political extremists engineered the attack in order to create division, thereby radicalizing Turks. Conspiracy theories prosper in Turkey, where democracy is maturing and many crimes have been attributed to the so-called "deep state," an alleged network of hardline nationalists with links to state institutions.

Yesim Turanli, director of Pi Artworks gallery, said many residents had expressed sympathy after the attack, and that the art community planned to discuss art projects or other measures as a means of promoting neighborhood harmony.

"Maybe it was because I was distant toward them, even though I thought I was integrating well," Turanli said. "We are new to this area and they are learning what galleries are. It's contemporary art. It's different."

On a visit to the galleries, Culture Minister Ertugrul Gunay said the government will seek heavy punishment for culprits in the attack, though gallery owners are watching closely to see if authorities stay involved. Gunay also steered toward the middle ground.

"Nobody has the right to impose their traditional lifestyle in an Anatolian village on Istanbul," he said. "Then again, nobody has the right to ignore and insult the customs and traditions of the people here."

The art on display in the Tophane galleries, some of which explores political themes, has not attracted controversy in a sign that Turkey is, in some ways, more tolerant than in the past.

It remains a crime to insult the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the national founder and a hero to many Turks, but the law is enforced less strictly these days. A polyester statue in the window of Galeri Non depicts Ataturk as a fallen angel, his head and one wing resting on the floor, the body tilting upward at a diagonal.

The title of the gallery's exhibition is: "I didn't do this, you did."

___

Associated Press Writer Ceren Kumova contributed to this report from Ankara, Turkey.


Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Turkey | Recep Tayyip Erdogan | Nazim Hikmet Richard Dikbas |




Today's News

September 27, 2010

Hollywood Celebrates Los Angeles County Museum of Art's New Resnick Pavilion

Most Acclaimed Rembrandt Portrait on Rare Display

Seoul Auction to Offer Superlative Western & Asian Art in October

Sotheby's Photography Auction to Benefit George Eastman House

Sunday Art Fair to Be Held in London at the P3 Ambika Space

CU Art Museum Presents Inaugural Exhibition Program

MoMA Announces 8th Festival of Film Preservation

Aaron Curry's Mmnktlplkt at Michael Werner Gallery

American Pioneers of Color at Galerie Edwynn Houk Zur Stockeregg

Is Maurizio Cattelan Giving Business the Finger in Milan?

First Comprehensive Solo Exhibition in Europe for Tobias Madison Opens

Artist John Bock Defies Logic at CAC Malaga

Forced Labor: The Germans, the Forced Laborers, and the War

Kara Walker to Be Honored at Brooklyn Museum

After Renovation, Vienna Academy of Fine Arts Reopens

Shay Kun's First Solo Exhibition with Benrimon Contemporary Opens

Sotheby's 40th Anniversary Wine Sale Smashes Pre-Sale Expectations Achieving £2,412,194

Last Exhibition on which Louise Bourgeois Collaborated Opens

Bonhams Offers a Piece of the Russian Imperial Winter Palace

The University of Vermont's Fleming Museum Brings Christo to Burlington

Hauser & Wirth Opens an Exhibition of Works by Subodh Gupta

Exhibition of Works on Paper at Marianne Boesky Gallery

Cuba in Revolution at the International Center of Photography

"I Speak As I Please" New Sculpture By David Buckingham

The Terrifying and Beautiful World of Otto Dix Arrives in Montreal

Asian Art Week at Christie's London in November

Political Design in Asia and Europe on View in Stuttgart

Exhibition of Works from the Collection of the MMK Opens

New Paintings by Matt Magee at Knoedler Project Space

On Street by German Photographer Peter Linderbergh at C/O Berlin

29th Sao Paulo Biennial Opens in Brazil

Sotheby's to Hold Selling Exhibition of Impressionist and Modern Art

British Library Posts Greek Manuscripts to Web

Turkey: Gallery Attack Ignites Debate, Questions Remain

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Greece holds breath as skeleton found in Alexander the Great-era tomb at Amphipolis

2.- Spain mourns the death of art collector Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, Duchess of Alba

3.- Meet the ancestors: Exhibition at Bordeaux gallery reveals faces of prehistoric humans

4.- Getty Foundation and partners launch free of charge online art collection catalogues

5.- Historic photos of dead Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara resurface in small Spanish town

6.- Exhibition showcases the first two 'Poesie' created by Titian following their restoration

7.- O'Keeffe painting sells for more than three times the previous world auction record for any female artist

8.- Crystal Bridges announces the departure of museum President Don Bacigalupi

9.- artnet Auctions offers a later example of Yayoi Kusama's important Infinity-Nets series

10.- 'Degenerate art' should go back to museums: German advisor Jutta Limbach

Related Stories



Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Turkish Republic reach agreement for transfer of top half of Weary Herakles



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site