Turkey releases two members of hunger-striking Turkish rock band

A Turkish court has ordered the release of two members of Grup Yorum, a Turkish folk-rock music group known for its music that incorporated political themes, the Gazete Duvar news portal reported on Wednesday.

Band members Helin Bolek and Bahar Kurt, along with three others, were at Wednesday’s hearing released by the Istanbul 35th Heavy Penal Court under judicial supervision.

Fikret Akar, Yeliz Kilic, and Dilan Uludag, who were being tried as part of the same case, were also released and placed under judicial supervision during the hearing.

Those released, who were being charged with “membership of a terrorist organization,” will reportedly have their next hearing on February 12, 2020.

According to a report by the T24 news portal on Wednesday, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office objected to the local court’s decision to release the five.

The objection was rejected by the Istanbul court on the same day and was then sent to the Istanbul 36th Heavy Penal Court for further examination.

Grup Yorum members Bolek and Kurt, who were behind bars for almost two years, have been on an indefinite hunger strike for more than four months.

Their hunger strike is intended to call upon the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to meet a list of their demands, which include having the jailed group members released from prison and all charges against them dropped.

Another one of their demands is the lifting of the ban on the Grup Yorum concerts, which has been ongoing for almost three years.

Since a state-of-emergency declared by the AKP government in the aftermath of 2016’s failed coup bid, a total of 11 members of the music group have been arrested.

Among those members of the group who are still behind bars are Ferhat Kil, Dilan Ekin, Ozgur Gultekin, Meral Hir, and Duygu Yasinoglu.

Ankara accuses the band of having links to the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a militant Marxist group listed as a terrorist organization not only by Turkey but also by the United States and the European Union.

The Turkish government’s wanted terrorist list includes band members Inan Altin, Selma Altin, Ali Araci, Ibrahim Gokcek, Emel Yesilirmak, and Ihsan Cibelik.

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