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.
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.
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.
Death fasting musician İbrahim Gökçek's father Ahmet Gökçek said that his son wants to live and urged people to raise their voices to save him. "İbrahim has been on a death fast for 315 days. His situation is critical. He is mentally very strong and has been resisting. He can also follow the current events and can talk to us. He was deeply shook when his friends died, but continues his struggle with resistance," he said.
Grup Yorum's Helin Bölek has died on the 288th day of her death fast in Istanbul, the group said on April 3. Thousand of people took to Twitter to share messages of condolences, including HDP deputies and CHP deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, with many criticizing the government and asking whether their demands were so hard to meet that she was left to die.
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 a hospital by police officers, prompting concerns on whether a forced intervention process is underway. "No one can silence Grup Yorum. It's either victory or death," Gökçek said.