Nearly 100 musicians have committed suicide in Turkey since government-imposed restrictions on performances to curb COVID-19 infections led to high unemployment in the profession, a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said.
Citing figures recently released by from the music and stage artists union, Müzik-Sen, CHP Ankara deputy Gamze Taşcıer said hundreds of thousands had been left unable to work during the public health crisis, Turkish news website dokuz8HABER reported on Wednesday.
Last week, Turkish authorities introduced tougher measures aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 after a recent resurgence in infections, including a ban on venues playing music after midnight. The move follows previous limits on social events like weddings, upon which many musicians depend to make a living.
But few protections have been put in place for workers economically impacted by the changes. And, already working under precarious circumstances, many musicians now face financial ruin, Taşcıer said.
Taşcıer accused the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of hypocrisy for holding political rallies without social distancing measures, while similar exemptions have not been made for the entertainment industry.
More must be done to support musicians before it’s too late, Taşcıer said.