Istanbul cancels Dalaras concert

A decision by authorities in Istanbul on Saturday to cancel at the last minute a concert by popular Greek singer George Dalaras, prompted the Foreign Ministry to accuse Turkish officials of looking for a «pretext» to call off the event. The concert was due to take place at the 15th-century fortress Rumeli Hisari as part of the World Congress of Orthodox Youth, organized by the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul. The musical event was canceled hours before it was due to start because the organizers had failed to deliver certain documents in time, according to the Istanbul governor’s office. Foreign Ministry spokesman Giorgos Komoutsakos issued a statement saying the decision «raises justifiable questions,» as Dalaras is an «internationally acclaimed artist who is especially liked in Turkey. «What has been presented as justification for the decision sounds like a pretext,» said Koumoutsakos. Turkish media suggested that reports about Dalaras’s criticism of the occupation in Cyprus played a role in the cancellation. «I imagine that because we are in an election campaign, perhaps certain people were able to aggravate the situation by writing inaccuracies that could have led to this cancellation,» said Dalaras, who suggested the move was aimed at the Patriarchate. «I did not expect this, we set out with very good intentions… to sing songs about our two peoples,» added Dalaras, who is also a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency.

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