In defence of the justified struggle of political prisoners in Turkey, we gladly share an appeal that was sent to us in memory of Helin Bölek, a member of Grup Yorum, who died on April 3rd in a hunger strike!
The Grup Yorum musician, who was on hunger strike, lost her life on the 288th day of her strike in Turkey
Helin Bölek and Ibrahim Gökçek, two musicians from the music group Grup Yorum*, had been on hunger strike** for almost nine months to protest against the judicial harassment that they have been subjected to by Erdogan's regime.
On April 3rd, one of the strikers, Helin Bölek***, had died. A musician who had been involved in the band for years despite the repression of the fascist state. Her mother, who supported Helin in her struggle, stated that it was necessary to act as quickly as possible and that her daughter was melting before her eyes.
Despite all her warnings, the Turkish government first expelled the strikers from the resistance house where they were staying and then transferred them to a hospital, trying to force-feed Ibrahim and Helin. When the resistance fighters refused to do so, the Minister of Internal Affairs called for negotiations a few days ago, saying that he would only take into account the strikers' demands on the condition that they stop their hunger strike. The resistance fighters refused this request on the grounds that their demands are not subject to negotiation. Faced with this determination of the resistance fighters, today (April 4), the Turkish state attacked even Helin's funeral, tried to kidnap her body and bury her without the presence of anyone, filled with tear gas the whole cemetery to block those who came to say goodbye to Helin, and arrested several people among them. They attacked the funeral because they are afraid even of our dead.
The demands of the strikers are as follows:
1. To stop the police raids to Idil Cultural Centre in Okmeydanı district of Istanbul, which has been raided more than 10 times in the last two years.
2. The cessation of the concert bans that have been in effect for almost three years.
3. The total abandonment of the proceedings against the members of Grup Yorum.
4. The release of the members who are still incarcerated.
5. The removal of the names of the members of Grup Yorum from terrorist lists.
Today, Ibrahim Gökçek continues his hunger strike on the 292nd day by saying "Today it is my turn to die" next to the coffin of his comrade Helin Bölek. In spite of the coronavirus, Ibrahim Gökçek, activists and revolutionists are fighting against the fascist policies of the state. The state which is afraid even of the revolutionary music of Grup Yorum.
The revolutionist music group, which is engaged in the struggle for socialism since 35 years, is threatened by the AKP government. All their concerts were banned, every month the cultural center where the musicians continue their activities is attacked by the police and their instruments were broken. The members are imprisoned, tortured, exiled and are all wanted by the police.
Their demands are obvious and simple to accept: to give concerts and to be able to continue to create their musical works in complete freedom.
It is obvious that Turkey is not an exception regarding of the danger of the spread of Covid-19 and that the situation is getting worse every day. The revolutionists have nevertheless decided to continue to fight despite these exceptional circumstances, because the repression continues and has not stopped growing despite the pandemic.
"We don't want to die, we want to give concerts," said Ibrahim and Helin, yet today we have lost Helin. We call all our comrades and the international community to act and support Grup Yorum in their struggle to save Ibrahim and regain their right to create freely for the people!
*More information about Grup Yorum :
**Politis had published an article on the hunger strike a few weeks ago:
*** Politis just published: https://www.politis.fr/articles/2020/04/grup-yorum-en-greve-de-la-faim-helin-bolek-a-perdu-la-vie-41641/