Two members of Turkish folk music band seek asylum in France

Photo: Euronews

Two members of Turkey’s famous left-wing protest music group, Grup Yorum, are now seeking asylum in France, according to a report by Euronews on Saturday. Music group members Selma and İnan Altın told Euronews that they will hold a press conference on Monday in Paris to explain the reasons for seeking asylum in the country.

Turkish prosecutors issued detention warrants for these two musicians along with four other members of the group in May 2017 for their alleged links to DHKP-C, a Marxist militant group regarded as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, as well as by the US and the EU. Eleven members of the group are currently in prison in Turkey, while one member has been released from jail.

İstanbul’s anti-terror police teams had raided İdil Cultural Center where Grup Yorum carries out its musical works and detained nine people. Properties and instruments have been damaged during the police raid and search. Grup Yorum had announced that Sultan Gökçek, Özgür Gültekin, Fırat Kıl, Dilan Poyraz, Dilan Ekin, Musa Kurt, Umut Şener, Bergün Varan and Alişan Gül were detained by İstanbul anti-terror police during the raid against the İdil Cultural Center.

The cultural center had also been raided by police on November 2016, according to the music group which stated that “İdil Cultural Center where we carry out our musical works was raided by police six months ago ‘to find criminal and offensive weapons.’ Not being able to find an ‘offensive weapon,’ the police had seized a hammer. All members of Grup Yorum members and construction workers were detained in that raid as well. The Seven musicians and one construction worker detained were then arrested and they were released after 3,5 months”

The Grup Yorum has released 20 albums since 1987 and has always been targeted by Turkish authorities for their radical left-wing tendencies. The group has songs dedicated to DHKP-C members and many of their lyrics, though subtly, refer to armed struggle.

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