Turkey, welcome to your future. Where threats from Islamic groups are allowed to shut down one event and their behavior is tolerated, they will try it again, with ever flimsier excuses. And civil society will spiral down the drain as it becomes accepted that the threat of piously thuggish behavior cancels the rights to free speech, expression, and association.
What is tolerated today to stick it to the Israelis will come back to haunt Turkish society. “Cameri theater cancels Turkey show after Islamic threats,” from the Jerusalem Post, May 22:
Israeli Ambassador to Turkey Gabby Levy on Sunday said that the Cameri theater company was forced to cancel the play “You Shook My Heart” in Antalya after radical Islamic protesters threatened to disrupt the performance.
Levy called on the troupe to cancel the play following warnings from Turkish authorities that protests could break out in the theater.
Company director Noam Semel told Army Radio that he canceled the play because he could not endanger the 21 person crew. Shemel explained that he had held performances abroad at least 100 times and could not remember an incident like this.
“We received a significant concern about a group of people who bought tickets in a bulk manner,” Actor Rami Baruch, who plays a referee in the play told Army Radio. “These are people whose intentions are not innocent. There were calls on many internet web sites to gather and oppose this specific play.”
On the dates of the performance a number of radical Islamic and anti-Israel demonstrations are expected to be held, Baruch explained. “In the coming days, the anniversary rally for the [Turkish Mavi] Marmara flotilla will be held, and apparently some relatives of those injured on the flotilla live in the city,” he said. “In addition to this, Nakba Day and [assassinated Hezbollah terrorist Imad] Mughniyeh also interfered in the incident.”
Along with Nakba and Marmara day, it is also voting day for the Turkish government.
“A demonstration in support of a radical Muslim party is expected to be held right in front of the theater,” Baruch added. “According to estimates, about 5,000 people are expected to attend the rally, and there is a risk that people will come from the rally to the theater.”
“Several days ago me and the rest of the actors joked about a targeted assassination attempt against us,” Baruch said. “Of course we said it humorously, since we relied on the embassy’s management. We trusted that they were doing their jobs properly. Apparently when we arrived here, the threats became worse. It’s too bad, because we simply wanted to bring love.”
A tough sell for people who consider you the “vilest of creatures” (Qur’an 98:6).
The theater crew is scheduled to return to Israel later Sunday.