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Grup Yorum hunger strike continues

LEFT-WING Turkish musicians Grup Yorum said they would not be silenced today as the group continued their hunger strike against the “fascist oligarchy” and demanded the release of their jailed band members.

Supporters warned that state has intensified attacks in recent days with the group on the 76th day of their protest hunger strike.

They are demanding an end to police raids, an end to bans on live performances and for Grup Yorum and their supporters to be removed from a “wanted terrorist” list by the Interior Ministry.

Four members of Grup Yorum — Bahar Kurt, Baris Unal, Ibrahim Gokcek and Helin Bolek  — started their hunger strike on May 17 following the arrest of a number of their bandmates.

In a statement the group said: “Since the state of emergency was declared on July 21 2016, the Idil Cultural Centre, where we have been performing our activities, has been raided by the police eight times.

“Every time the centre was raided, our instruments were destroyed, our compositions were stolen, our studio was messed up.

“Over the last two years, 11 of our members in total have been arrested and six members have been placed on ‘terror lists’ by setting a price on them, they are wanted.

“In the meanwhile, all of our concerts, be that small or big, have been banned. We currently have seven members who are behind bars and four members, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued.”

The band were formed in Istanbul’s Marmara University in 1985.

Since then Grup Yorum has grown into one of Turkey’s most popular bands, their left-wing message combining with Turkish and Kurdish folk.

They were the first band to sing in Kurdish when the language was banned.

Their 25th anniversary concert in 2010 at the Besiktas football stadium attracted 55,00 people.

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