Cinema Salim posted this image on Facebook on January 8, 2019, showing their doors barred.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Kurdish security forces closed Cinema Salim in downtown Sulaimani on Tuesday in a bid to prevent the screening of a movie about Sakine Cansiz, a founding Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) member who was assassinated in Paris.
“[A] force of Sulaimani’s General Asayesh without an official decree came to Cinema Salim and closed the doors of the cinema,” read a statement from the theater on Facebook.
The cinema says the closing is just ahead of a scheduled screening of ‘My Whole Life Was a Struggle’ about “comrade” Sakine Cansiz on Friday. It is about the assassination of the founding PKK member on January 9, 2013, in Paris.
The cinema claims it received a warning “the movie can’t be shown” from the Asayesh — belonging to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) — but not an official warrant from the government.
“This constraining of freedom and monopolizing the public space won’t defeat our will, and against preventing real art, we won’t remain silent,” added the cinema.
Cansiz is a founding female member of the PKK. She is from Dersim and family members were affected in the Dersim Massacre that many consider to be genocide against the Alevi Kurds in particular.
The PKK is a Kurdish party fighting for greater political, minority, and cultural rights in Turkey for nearly 4 decades. She was tortured and arrested by the Turkish police in the 1980s.
Alongside comrades Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez, she was shot dead in an assassination operation largely blamed on the Turkey’s MIT intelligence agents.
This crackdown by the largest party in Sulaimani’s Asayesh began late last month in a bid to placate Turkey which has kept its airspace for flights to Sulaimani’s airport closed, claiming the PUK is abetting and supporting the PKK.
The PUK did not immediately release a statement on the events.