Four organizations, namely İstanbul Bar Association, İstanbul Medical Chamber, Artists’ Initiative and Art Assembly, have released a joint statement and called on the authorities to act responsibly in handling the hunger strike and death fast of Grup Yorum music band members. Shared with the public in the meeting hall of İstanbul Bar today (January 20), the statement has indicated that “Grup Yorum members, who have not been convicted of any crimes or penalized, and İdil Cultural Center are prevented from producing art with bans and imprisonment.” The call of the organizations has continued as follows: “The process of Grup Yorum members that started with hunger strikes over 200 days ago has turned into death fasts. This process is a critical process that could result in permanent damage or death. For that reason, we call on the authorities to fulfil their duties and responsibilities to resolve the problems before any permanent damage or deaths occur.” Band member Helin Bölek has announced that she has turned her indefinite hunger strike to a death fast. Today marks the 214th day of her strike. Arrested Grup Yorum member İbrahim Gökçek has also made the same decision. He has also been on the 216th day of his death fast. Band members request that the bans on their concerts be ended, their cultural center be no longer raided and their arrested members be released. The İdil Cultural Center in Okmeydanı, İstanbul has been raided by the police for over 10 times over the last two years. 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 are still arrested.
BIA News Desk in Joint Call for Grup Yorum: ‘Take Action Before It is Too Late” (Bianet)