IPANEWS

Turkish band members to stage hunger strike in protest to crackdown of ruling AKP

Members of a popular Turkish band have announced that they will stage a hunger strike
from Friday 17 May in a bid to urge the ruling party to meet their demands, including the
release of their jailed band members, Bianet news portal reported on Tuesday.

In an issued press release, Grup Yorum, a folk-rock music group known for its music with incorporated political themes, has called on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to fulfill a series of demands.

The first demand is for its jailed group members to be released from prison and all charges dropped.

The band stated that eleven group members have been arrested in the past since the state of emergency was declared on July 21, 2016, with seven members still behind bars – Ferhat Kil, Helin Bolek, Dilan Ekin, Bahar Kurt, Ozgur Gultekin, Meral Hir, and Duygu Yasinoglu.

“Our members have been put on the wanted ‘terrorist list’ of the Turkish Interior Ministry. We demand the removal of our members from the list,” the statement reads.

The wanted terrorist list is divided into five color-coded categories, with red as the most
wanted, followed by blue, green, orange and grey.

Six members of the band have been added to the grey category of the wanted terrorist list on charges of being members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), an Ankara-designated terrorist organization. The six group members are Inan Altin, Selma Altin, Ali Araci, Ibrahim Gokcek, Emel Yesilirmak, and Ihsan Cibelik.

The band also called for an end to police raids on the Idil Cultural Center in Istanbul’s Okmeydani neighborhood where the band has been performing. The group claims that the police have carried out eight raids over the past two years, destroying their instruments and wrecking their studio.

Another demand from the group is for the government to remove the ban on concerts. The group’s annual “Independent Turkey” concerts have been banned since 2015, but they performed a concert online on July 1, 2018.

Turkey experienced a two-year state of emergency situation after a botched coup attempt against President Tayyip Erdogan. Many criticized Erdogan as Turkey had been radically transformed with emergency measures used to consolidate his power and to silence critical voices against him.

More than 160,000 people were detained during the emergency rule in Turkey. Among
those detained, more than 50,000 have been imprisoned pending trial since July 2016.

Journalists covering hunger strikes released on probation

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