Two death fasting musicians were taken to a hospital without their consent after police raided their house in Istanbul’s Armutlu district early on March 11.
İbrahim Gökçek and Helin Bölek, two members of Grup Yorum who have been on a death fast with the demand for the ban on their concerts to be lifted for 268 and 265 days, respectively, were taken to the Ümraniye State Hospital by police officers.
“They forcefully took us and brought us here. We have only one thing to tell the world. No one can silence Grup Yorum. It’s either victory or death,” Gökçek says in a video filmed in the hospital room.
Founded in 1985 as a reaction to the 1980 military coup and the subsequent military policies, Grup Yorum is known with 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” often.
A statement was shared from the musicians’ lawyers following the forced hospitalization, saying that medical intervention to individuals without their consent is banned in multiple international agreements that Turkey is a signatory of.
“Forced intervention is torture. It’s a crime to touch our clients regardless of their statements on not accepting medical intervention. Forced intervention is murder,” People’s Law Bureau said on its Twitter account, adding that both Bölek and Gökçek openly stated that they don’t accept any medical intervention.
“Our clients are being kept under the threat of forced intervention. The hospital is under police blockade,” it added.
A number of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) politicians and human rights defenders slammed the incident.