[artinfo] gang attacks artists in Istanbul

Janos Sugar sj at c3.hu
Sun Sep 26 01:01:13 CEST 2010

Art has put Turkey in the international spotlight -- but not in the 
way that its artists might have hoped. Late Tuesday night, a violent 
mob attacked the "Tophane Art Walk" in what appeared to be a planned 
assault on Istanbul's fledgling Tophane arts district.

In an organized attack on art galleries in the Tophane neighbourhood 
of Istanbul, guests attending exhibition openings were physically 
assaulted in a lynch attempt by a gang of 40-50 people. The audience 
subjected to this atmosphere of total terror featured artists, 
academicians, students, writers, local and international journalists 
and cultural attaches from consulates. The attackers used knives, 
batons, broken bottles and pepper spray. The injured include Polish, 
Dutch, German and English guests.

Now this all leaves us with the obvious question: why are the 
galleries of this section of Istanbul being attacked by small armed 
gangs? No one is quite sure. Some say it is loosely organized 
conservative radicals, others say it's state-sponsored terror against 
the emergence of a potentially counter-culturally inclined community.


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