Erdoğan bans music after midnight, sparking Turkish social media anger

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the playing of music in Turkey will be banned after midnight.

The announcement, made after a three-hour cabinet meeting in Ankara on Monday, prompted strong criticism among some social media users, who saw the step as more evidence that Erdoğan was seeking to impose his Islamic values on the population.

“No offence, but no one has the right to disturb anyone at night," Erdoğan said in televised comments, without elaborating. He spoke as he outlined the government’s plans to lift curfews on the population introduced to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Erdoğan, who has ruled by decree since 2018, has vowed to create a new generation of more devout Turks, opening Islamic schools designed to educate Islamic clergy and raising taxes on alcohol and cigarettes faster than the rate of inflation, In April, his government banned the sale of alcohol during a tighter lockdown on the population imposed to tackle the coronavirus.

“We have been saying that these bans are ideological from the beginning,” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). “Erdoğan; If you're going to talk about disturbing, then the country is disturbed by you. What are you going to do about that?”

Social media users set up the hashtag #KUSURABAKIYORUZ to vent their anger at Erdoğan’s announcement. It was the top trending topic on Twitter in Turkey on Tuesday. A few posted messages urging tourists to stay away from the country, even proposing that they visit Mediterranean rival Greece instead.

“After 0:00 there is a ban on music in our country. Yes, this is Turkey. They are trying to block everything related to art and culture! They are taking away our freedoms one by one,” Twitter user Melike Günaydın said.

Erdoğan, a former mayor of Istanbul, says he is a devout Muslim. The Constitutional Court banned him from holding office in the late 1990s for mixing religion with politics. He returned as prime minister in 2003 after his governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) won elections the previous year.

On Sunday, Erdoğan criticised a trend among some Turks of waiting until their 30's to get married. He has also called on women to have more children, saying their primary duty is as mothers.

April’s alcohol ban had also turned into the leading topic on Turkish social media under a hashtag translated as “don’t touch our alcohol”.

“Heed, to his every word, live in fear,” said musician Murat Gençoğlu on Twitter in the early hours of Tuesday, linking a video to him playing heavy metal through his music system at 1:27 a.m.