Grup Yorum
The European Union has said that it's "deeply saddened" by the death of Ebru Timtik, a lawyer who had been on a death fast for 238 days with the demand to be tried fairly. "Turkey urgently needs to demonstrate concrete progress on the rule of law and fundamental freedoms," read a statement released by European Commission foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano.
Istanbul police on Aug. 5 raided Istanbul's İdil Culture Center where leftist folk band Grup Yorum carries out its musical works and detained five people there, including former hunger-striking academic Nuriye Gülmen. The People's Law Office announced on Aug. 11 that Gülmen was among the two who were arrested in the case.
Six members of the left-wing Turkish popular folk band Grup Yorum were detained on Aug. 5 while performing at a concert rehearsal in Istanbul's Beykoz. The İdil Culture Center, which is run by the group, was also raided by the police.
Jailed journalist Barış Terkoğlu has said that the lack of the right to a fair trial is a common complaint in Turkey, as he voiced support to jailed lawyer Ebru Timtik, who has been on a death fast with the demand to be tried fairly. "We should be against terror and all the acts that eliminate human life. However, we should know that what differentiates between terrorists and lawyers is the balance of law," he said.
The Istanbul Governor's Office said on June 1 that they had not permitted a concert by Grup Yorum, refuting an announcement by the leftist band. Two of Grup Yorum's members died recently after death fasts to demand that the bans on the band's concerts are lifted and terrorism charges against members are removed.
It’s a spring day in Athens. Over 120 Greek musicians and performers gather on the steps of the southern slope of the Acropolis to sing in Turkish. They gathered to express their solidarity with the Turkish protest band Grup Yorum.
More than 120 Greek musicians have expressed their solidarity with Grup Yorum, a leftwing popular music group banned in Turkey. The Greek musicians sang Turkish ethnic/folkloric band Kardeş Türküler's song "Tencere Tava Havasi (The Sound of Pots and Pans), which was inspired by citizens' beating on pots and pans to express their discontent towards the government during the 2013 Gezi Park protests.
Turkey's Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) has launched an investigation into an İzmir judge after he expressed his sadness about Grup Yorum member İbrahim Gökçek's death. The HSK's move came after it put another İzmir judge on suspension for the same reason.
A Turkish judge who is under fire for supporting İbrahim Gökçek, who who died on May 7 at a hospital two days after ending his death fast that lasted for 323 days, said that there is nothing more natural than defending the right to life. "I advocate the right to life for everyone. This is a constitutional right and must be defended by everyone," Judge Ayşe Sarısu Pehlivan said.
A far-right group has attempted to attack the grave of Grup Yorum member İbrahim Gökçek in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, saying that they will burn the body as soon as police leaves the area. "We don't want a terrorist's grave. Police will wait for a couple of days and then will leave. When they're gone, we will take the body out of the grave and burn it," the group said late on May 10.
Police have fired tear gas on mourners during the funeral ceremony of musician İbrahim Gökçek, a member of Grup Yorum who died on May 7 at a hospital two days after ending his death fast that lasted for 323 days, while also taking his body away from the cemevi. Grup Yorum later said that his family took the body back and was heading to Kayseri for the burial under police escort.
İbrahim Gökçek, a member of Grup Yorum who ended his 323-day-long death fast two days ago, died at a hospital on May 7. Gökçek 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.
İbrahim Gökçek ended his death fast on the 323rd day on May 5 and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Grup Yorum announced that Gökçek ended his death fast "since the resistance have reached a political victory." "The entire world learned about this resistance. We gained a political victory and talks are going positive," the group said.
In 2019, Freemuse registered 33 serious violations of artistic freedom of expression in Turkey, including putting nine artists behind bars. "The Turkish government was the main violator of artistic freedom and primarily executed the violations under the rationales of counterterrorism and protecting the state," the prominent NGO said.
HDP deputies have prepared a video clip showing themselves performing a song of Grup Yorum in an attempt to show solidarity with group member İbrahim Gökçek, who is in his 322nd day of hunger strike. HDP Leyla Güven says in the video clip that the banned folk music group should be allowed to resume its concerts and that jailed band members should be released.
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Politics
Turkey's Presidential Symphony Orchestra will thrive thanks to the completion of its long-awaited music hall, Conductor Cemi'i Can Deliorman said. Having been in the works for 25 years, the music hall's large auditorium can seat more than two thousand viewers.
A committee of main opposition CHP politicians said that the construction of a visitors' center on southeast Turkey's iconic Mount Nemrut was a betrayal to nature. The CHP committee noted that the site was pending assignment as a UNESCO geopark and that the construction was putting it in jeopardy.
The NATO has criticized a possible test by Turkey of its Russian-made S-400 missile launcher and stepped up calls on Ankara to opt for a different defense system. “Any test of the S-400 air defense system by Turkey, if confirmed, would be regrettable. It is important Turkey continues to work with other allies to find alternative solutions," it said in a statement.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu sent congratulatory messages to HDP co-chairs Mithat Sancar and Pervin Buldan on the party's eighth foundation anniversary. "I underline once again that we will never give up on building peace and fraternity," İmamoğlu said.
Five health workers have died of COVID-19 in just one day, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) said on Oct. 18, as it criticized the government for not being able to manage the pandemic properly. The names of the health workers were revealed as Dr. Salih Kanlı, Dr. Turan Yıldırım, Ferhat Gencer, Harun Dönmez and Yasemin Çolak. The number of health workers who died of COVID-19 in the past eight days rose to 13.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has cancelled his planned visit to Turkey after Ankara said it was restarting operations of a survey ship that it withdrew last month. Maas said that Ankara's renewed push "severely damaged" the atmosphere of trust and said that Turkey can't have any interest in the long-term continuation of the conflicts that it's involved in.
Denizli Governor Ali Fuat Atik has prompted fury for ordering a restaurant to be closed because a waiter working there didn't recognize him. Following criticism on social media, Atik apologized, saying that he was saddened by his approach to the man. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also commented on the incident, saying that he found it appropriate for the governor to apologize.
Some 2,500 academics worldwide, including famed international scholars Judith Butler, Noam Chomsky, Silvia Federici, Etienne Balibar and Enzo Traverso, have signed a petition for Turkey to release Cihan Erdal, a PhD candidate and researcher at Carleton University in Canada and an LGBT activist, who was detained in Istanbul on Sept. 25.
A show owner in Denizli has told the governor of the province that he wants to die because of the worsening economy when asked why he was not wearing a mask. "I've had enough. I want to die. Look at the economy. I gained 15 liras on Tuesday and 100 liras on Wednesday. What use does it have even if that 100 liras is all profit?" the shop owner said.
In the government's latest attempt to criminalize the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), summary of proceedings have been prepared against 18 of its deputies, bringing charges against them for attending demonstrations and for making statements including the word "Kurdistan."
Osman Kavala remains behind bars as one of Turkey's most high-profile political prisoners, while President Erdoğan appointed the prosecutor who prepared Kavala's indictment to the post of Deputy Justice Minister. The appointment came within seven days of the indictment's preparation, and removed the prior appointee by presidential decree.
Hale Gönültaş reports: Turkey's financial crimes unit has determined that Afghan criminals engaged in drug smuggling and in the funding of terror operations are exploiting Afghan refugees in Turkey via bank transfers. As migrants are unable to transport large sums of money and often cannot open bank accounts in Turkey, they rely on moneychangers who transfer cash for a fee, and this is usually the only option.
A missile was fired into the sky on Oct. 16 on Turkey's Black Sea coast where the military was expected to test its Russian-made S-400 defense systems, according to local video obtained by Reuters. "If confirmed, we would condemn in the strongest terms the S-400 test missile launch as incompatible with Turkey’s responsibilities as a NATO  Ally and strategic partner of the United States," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Health Ministry failed to deliver an Oct. 15 data release that was designed to offset the repercussions of the revelation that Ankara's official COVID-19 numbers had been excluding asymptomatic patients. The ministry said that Fahrettin Koca's promise to release all data starting on Oct. 15 had been "misunderstood," and that they would only share certain numbers with the WHO.
Former President Abdullah Gül said that he was "appalled" by the attacks on Turkey's Constitutional Court, the most recent of which accused a member of threatening a military coup. The coup debate closely followed discussions on overhauling the Constitutional Court, which many members of the governing bloc in Ankara voiced support for.
Alterations on Istanbul's iconic Hagia Sophia reportedly violated guidelines mandated under the site's "UNESCO World Heritage" status. Converted within two weeks of the legal ruling that allowed Muslim worship, the ancient structure's mosaics were unlawfully covered up, and any work on it was deemed practically impossible, architectural publication Mimarlık Magazine reported.
Economy
President Erdoğan on Oct. 17 announced the discovery of an additional 85 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Black Sea, following a similar find in August. As a result of testing, analysis and detailed engineering work, another 85 billion cubic meters were added to the reserves we had discovered. The total amount of natural gas reserves in the TUNA-1 well of the Sakarya Gas Field reached 405 billion cubic meters," Erdoğan said.
Turkish exporters are struggling with shrinking markets as Morocco appears to have joined the countries that are effectively boycotting all products made in Turkey. Sources from the Moroccan Ministry of Trade indicate that measures have been put in place to prevent unfair competition from Turkish textile producers who are dominating the local market.
Data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) revealed a dip in real estate sales vis-a-vis last year in September, dropping by 6.9 percent for some 136,744 residences sold. Meanwhile, the total volume of sales between January and September was larger than the number in 2019.
Urban Beat
Kurdish artist Zehra Doğan's work that she created during her two prison sentences between 2016 and 2019 are on display in Turkey for the first time. The artist was jailed on terrorism charges and gained international fame after finishing her second sentence and holding a show at London's Tate Modern.
CHP deputy Mustafa Adıgüzel has found a lost letter penned by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Turkey's founding father, to a U.S. child called Curtis La France. "My advice to the intelligent and hardworking children of the U.S. is to not perceive everything they hear about Turks as true and attach importance to basing their opinions on scientific and sound examinations. I wish you success and happiness," Atatürk said in the letter.
The 39th Istanbul Film Festival will offer viewings both online and in-person, the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) noted. While tickets will become available on Oct. 2, showings will start a week later and last for 10 days.