Efes One Love Case: Conservative Islamists joins forces with mob power and local authorities

This week we have witnessed one of the most concrete cases of how Islamic conservatives are aiming to destroy others’ life styles and attempting to grow their hegemony over public.

While we were about to attend Efes Pilsen One Love festival that has been regularly organized at santralistanbul, Eyüp, Istanbul, for 5 years, we have witnessed a coordinated campaign against the festival. This is one of the coolest rock festivals in town sponsored by the Turkish beer brand, Efes Pilsen.

As a disinformation campaign, the campaign labelled the festival as “beer festival”.  A social media based platform that claims to be “residents of Eyüp” started the campaign. Soon conservative islamist Saadet Party and its official newspaper began to pump propaganda items. Yeşilay Cemiyeti soon joined the campaign. That association is supposed to be struggling with alcohol and smoking addiction. However, its radical Islamist president, Muharrem Balcı, who had been in the defense team of Sivas Massacre perpetrators, aiming to fight against any alcoholic beverage usage and probably thinking of a better political career in this new regime of conservative politics.

The basic discourse is that how in a “holy district”, Eyüp, just before the Ramadhan a beer festival could occur. Banners were hung all over Eyüp and particularly where santralistanbul was located.  I believe some citizens can legitimately have that discourse, however, if this has an impact on local authorities, that’s a problem. Because this is a religious imposition over the law. In fact, all authorizations have been given months before, but last week it was rumored that local authorities, Eyüp Municipality and police chiefs began to harass santralistanbul administration. And here we are. Yesterday, “Efes Pilsen” was dropped from the Festival name and beer was banned from the festival…


Ricky Wilson of Kaiser Chiefs who played last night protested the beer ban and distributed beer to audience.

The discourse itself is also interesting in that Eyüp becomes a holy land. There is the Eyüp Sultan Mosque nearby, but not that nearby and the festival would take place in a gated field, nothing to do with the mosque area. However, the islamist conservative politics aims to have spatial hegemony and on its way to make all Eyüp district a sacred place…

A sarcastic montage. Those who are behind the attack including Eyüp Municipality…

In terms of citizens’ rights, the festival case is as grave as what happened in Diyarbakır yesterday. A mob behaviour is supported (and maybe instigated) by Islamic/conservative authorities and secular laws are easily violated… Some unfortunate days await us.

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