Grup Yorum concert for ‘quake solidarity’ cancelled by local authorities 

Folk music band Grup Yorum has said on Twitter that a concert scheduled to take place on July 7 in İstanbul’s Sultangazi district was cancelled by the local authorities.

The group said the concert was intended to increase solidarity for the victims of major earthquakes that hit southeastern Turkish provinces in early February.

“Cowards! Grup Yorum is the people [and] cannot be silenced,” the band said on Twitter.

Musicians in Turkey struggle with bans imposed on their concerts by local administrations across the country on various pretexts.

The Interior Ministry and local administrations have repeatedly denied the group’s application to give concerts in several provinces.

Founded in 1985 in reaction to the 1980 military coup and subsequent military policies, Grup Yorum is known for its leftist stance and songs about political issues in Turkey.

The group has always been vocal about human rights violations and freedoms in the country, prompting authorities to accuse them of being “members of terrorist groups.”

Band member Helin Bölek died in April 2020 after 288 days on a hunger strike, while İbrahim Gökçek died in May 2020 only two days after ending a 323-day hunger strike.

The musicians demanded that the bans on their band be lifted and that they be allowed to perform again, that their culture center not be raided anymore and that their band members’ names be cleared of terror charges.

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