Turkish band member ends hunger strike on 322nd day after negotiations with officials: report


Musician İbrahim Gökçek of the left-wing Turkish band Grup Yorum ended a prolonged hunger strike on Tuesday after positive negotiations with Turkish authorities over the lifting of concert bans on the group, the Ahval news website reported.

“Our resistance has gained a political victory. We announced this to the whole world. We, as Grup Yorum members, made a decision. There are positive discussions now, and we hope that the rest will be positive. Our friends have now applied to the Istanbul Governor’s Office for a permit to stage a concert,” the group said in a statement.

On April 3 musician Helin Bölek of the band died on the 288th day of her hunger strike.

Gökçek had been on an intermittent, 322-day hunger strike to demand the lifting of concert bans on the group, an end to raids on the band’s cultural center and the release of imprisoned band members.

The folk collective has performed in various lineups since it was formed in 1985 and has released 23 albums. But it has not been allowed to perform since 2016 as Turkish authorities have accused members of affiliation with the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C), a militant Marxist group considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Bölek and Gökçek were arrested in early 2019. Bölek was released at the end of 2019 and continued her hunger strike, while Gökçek was released in February 2020 on medical grounds. However, both were rearrested on March 11 and taken to the Ümraniye Teaching and Research Hospital. They were again released on March 16. (turkishminute.com)

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