Grup Yorum Band to Go on a Hunger Strike

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Grup Yorum music band has released a written statement and announced that they will start a hunger strike as of May 17.

The band, whose seven members are currently behind bars, have pressed the following demands:

“We demand that our members be released and the cases be dropped.

“The İdil Cultural Center [in Okmeydanı, İstanbul] was raided for eight times. We demand that police raids be ended.

“Our members have been put on the wanted ‘terrorist lists’ of the Ministry of Interior, we demand the removal of the list.

“Let the ban on concerts be removed and squares be open to Grup Yorum. We want a Grup Yorum concert.”

‘Cultural center raided, instruments destroyed’

In its statement, the band has also made the following remarks:

“Since the State of Emergency was declared on July 21, 2016, the İdil Cultural Center, where we have been performing our activities, have been raided by the police for eight times.

“Every time the center was raided, our instruments were destroyed, our compositions were stolen, our studio was messed up.

“Over the last two years, our 11 members in total have been arrested and our six members have been placed on ‘terror lists’ by setting a price on them, they are wanted.

“In the meanwhile, our all concerts, be that small or big, have been banned. We currently have seven members behind bars and four members, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued.”

What happened?

The İdil Cultural Center in Okmeydanı, İstanbul has been raided by the police for eight times over the last two years. 

The center where Grup Yorum music band has been conducting its activities was raided by the police in October and November 2016, in May and September 2017 and in October and November 2018.

During the raids, instruments of Grup Yorum members were either broken or gone missing, their music books were also damaged. According to the statement made by the group, a total of 30 people were arrested in these raids. Seven members of the band have still been arrested: Ferhat Kıl, Helin Bölek, Dilan Ekin, Bahar Kurt, Özgür Gültekin, Meral Hır, Duygu Yasinoğlu.

Musicians Meral Hır and Duygu Yasinoğlu will appear before the judge on March 28, 2019. Six members of the band are in the Ministry of Interior’s “gray list” as wanted terrorists: İnan Altın, Selma Altın, Ali Aracı, İbrahim Gökçek, Emel Yeşilırmak, İhsan Cibelik.

There is also a 300 thousand TRY (~56,000 USD) bounty for those who will report the band members, who are charged for being a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

Selma Altın and İnan Altın applied for asylum in France.

The band’s annual “Independent Turkey Concerts” have been banned by the governorship since 2015. The band gave a concert on the Internet on July 1, 2018. (AS/SD)