The appointment of a pro-government actor known for rebuking female colleagues for speaking against government policies as the new Turkish State Theaters director general has reignited a debate about the appointment of loyalists to state posts, with many questioning their credentials.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s new appointments at the senior levels of certain ministries were published in the Official Gazette on Friday. One of them was the appointment of Tamer Karadağlı as the State Theaters director general at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
In the last few years, Karadağlı had been thrust into the spotlight for his rebuke of Turkish actresses Nihal Yalçın and Merve Dizdar, who had won the “Best Actress” award at national and international festivals.
Karadağlı was slammed in October 2021 for interrupting Yalçın’s speech after she won the Best Lead Actress Award at the Golden Orange Film Festival and spoke against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, an international treaty against domestic violence.
Karadağlı also criticized Dizdar, who won the Best Actress award at the 76th Cannes Film Festival for her role as a teacher in Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s latest “About Dry Grasses” on May 27, for “complaining about her country at the first opportunity” during her acceptance speech.
The actress dedicated her speech to the women struggling for a better future in Turkey.
Many people think Karadağlı lacks the credentials to lead the State Theaters and that the reason for his appointment is his loyalty to the government.
According to journalist Canan Kaya, Karadağlı has been rewarded for the “masculine language” he uses, which many associate with the ruling party’s policies against women.
“Every misogynist is being rewarded one by one. What a country!” she added.
Tamer Karadağlı, Devlet Tiyatroları Genel Müdürü olmuş. Eril dilinin bedelini almış sonunda(!) Ne kadar kadın düşmanı varsa tek tek ödüllendiriliyor. Ne ülke ama! pic.twitter.com/0xbNJSvANH
— Canan Kaya (@ckayacanan) August 10, 2023
Journalist Sercan Meriç pointed out that based on Karadağlı’s biography on Wikipedia, the last time he performed in a play was in 2000.
Meanwhile, Ömer Faruk Belviranlı has been appointed general director of fine arts at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. He had previously transformed the song “Çok Yaşa Tayyip Dede” (Live long, grandfather Tayyip), which was written and composed for President Erdoğan’s birthday, into an original project.
The song was performed and recorded in the studio of the Konya Turkish Sufi Music Community with a choir made up of elementary school children from Konya. Additionally, a video recording of the performance was also made.
Erdoğan’ın doğum günü için yazılan “Çok Yaşa Tayyip Dede" şarkısını özel bir projeye dönüştüren Ömer Faruk Belviranlı, Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı Güzel Sanatlar Genel Müdürlüğü'ne atandı.https://t.co/Ohj7UNq5fy pic.twitter.com/HpyfCg13lj
— Sevinç Özarslan (@sevincozarslan) August 11, 2023
Erdoğan’s AKP, which has Islamist roots, has long been receiving criticism for engaging in favoritism and filling state posts with its cronies.
Critics say AKP nepotism reached new heights following a failed coup in July 2016 after which the government removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.