Thursday, March 12, 2020

Solidarity with Grup Yorum band members — Turkish state's authoritarianism shall not pass!

Ibrahim Gökçek and Helin Bölek have been on hunger strike
for more than 260 days.
In the early morning of Wednesday 11 March, the house of death fasting Grup Yorum band members Ibrahim Gökçek and Helin Bölek in Istanbul, Turkey was raided by police forces. Gökçek, Bölek and three other people were violently detained.

Ibrahim and Helin, who have been on death fast for more than 260 days, were taken without their consent to Ümraniye Training and Research Hospital for enforced medical treatment. 

According to the People’s Law Bureau any involuntary intervention on death fasters consists torture and could cause permanent damage on their bodies, including death.

“Forced intervention is torture. It’s a crime to touch our clients regardless of their statements on not accepting medical intervention. Forced intervention is murder” People’s Law Bureau pointed out on its Twitter account, adding that both Bölek and Gökçek have openly stated that they don’t accept any medical intervention.

“They forcefully took us and brought us here. We have only one thing to tell the world. No one can silence Grup Yorum. It’s either victory or death”, said Ibrahim Gökçek in a video filmed in the hospital room. 

A history of persecutions by Turkish authorities

The case of Grup Yorum’s persecution in Turkey is indicative of the authoritarian and repressive nature of Tayyip Erdogan’s establishment. Founded in 1985 in Istanbul, Grup Yorum band became famous for its leftist, revolutionary songs about political and social issues, as well as for being vocal about human rights violations and freedoms in Turkey. 

Turkey’s bourgeois authorities have enlisted Grup Yorum members as “supporters of terrorism” thus unleashing extensive persecutions against them. Over the last two years, at least 30 of the band’s members have been detained and the groups concerts’ have been banned. 

Six Grup Yorum members have been placed on the Turkish state’s “grey list” as wanted terrorists with a 300,000 Turkish lira bounty on their heads. 

Huge crowd attending a Grup Yorum concert.
The Idil Cultural Center in Istanbul’s Okmeydani district has been raided by police over 10 times in the last two years. During the raids, music instruments belonging to Grup Yoru members were either broken or gone missing. 

İbrahim Gökçek and Helin Bölek are on hunger strike, asking for international support and solidarity to their cause. The demands of the Grup Yorum members are the following:

* End the police raids against İdil Cultural Center, which is constantly raided, attempted to be terrorized and where the group is conducting its activities

* Remove the Grup Yorum members from the wanted lists of the Ministry

* Remove the ban on the concerts of Grup Yorum, all concerts of which have been banned for almost three years.

* Drop the lawsuits filed against Grup Yorum members

* Release all arrested Grup Yorum members (AS/SD).

İbrahim ve Helin, güçlü ol! Seni destekliyoruz!