Turkish authorities cancelled dissident actor's play

Turkish actor Levent Üzümcü on Sunday said his theatre play was cancelled due to pressure by the authorities, Turkish news site T24 reported

"These days, which art and artists are as free as they have never been, democracy has been improved as much as it has not been before, our stage that we were planning to present our play on was taken from us due to political pressure," Üzümcü said in a video he released on social media. 

His statements contained sarcasm on the poor democracy and freedoms in the country. Üzümcü and his colleagues were planning to stage a play at a college in the southern city of Iskenderun. The college administration cancelled the play due to pressure from the authorities, according to Üzümcü. 

Üzümcü apologised from the audience for not staging the play and said "people of Iskenderun might see the play in a more 'free' future."

Üzümcü is known for his dissident position and he took place in the widespread Gezi Park protest, which shook the country for months in the summer of 2013. He was sacked from his job at Istanbul’s City Theatre in 2015 after criticising the government’s heavy-handed suppression of protests that spread across the country in 2013 over plans to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul.

“In Turkey, there is no justice or law anymore. Those who claim the country is governed under the rule of law are lying. It is as if the law is clamped tightly between two lips, not independent,” Üzümcü told Ahval in an interview.

On Oct. 8, a group of anonymous people attacked him in Istanbul. He was hospitalised after the incident and survived the attack with minor injuries.