Duvar English

Police have fired tear gas on mourners during the funeral ceremony of musician İbrahim Gökçek, who died on May 7 at a hospital two days after ending his death fast that lasted for 323 days.

Gökçek’s funeral ceremony was held in a cemevi, an Alevi house of worship, in Istanbul’s Gazi neighborhood on May 8, with mourners wanting to march before his body was sent to the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri for burial.

The funeral ceremony began under heavy police presence with the roads leading to the cemevi being blocked and deployment water cannons.

Police also prevented mourners from marching, citing the “violation of social distancing” during the gathering held to commemorate Gökçek a day earlier.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Hüda Kaya tried to convince the officers, but to no avail.

Police fired tear gas on mourners trying to enter the cemevi, resulting in Gökçek’s family and members of Grup Yorum, his group, getting affected by the gas.

They then entered the cemevi by force and detained a number of people, while taking the body of Gökçek away in a vehicle belonging to the Istanbul Municipality.

Grup Yorum later said that his family took the body back and was heading to Kayseri for the burial under police escort.

Gökçek, who ended his death fast “since the resistance have reached a political victory” on May 5, died at a hospital in Istanbul, where he was taken for treatment after ending his fast.

He had been on a death fast with a number of demands, including the ban on their concerts to be lifted, the removal of the group’s members’ names from terror lists and the raids of İdil Culture Center, where the group carries out its works, to be stopped.

None of the demands were met despite repeated calls on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to lift the ban on the group’s concerts.