One of the members of musical band Grup Yorum, 28 year-old Helin Bölek has lost her life on the 288th day of her indefinite hunger strike.
On November 2016, İdil Cultural Center had been raided by the police and the seven members of Grup Yorum, including Helin Bölek, were arrested with the accusation of being a member of an “illegal organization, offering resistance against the police and insulting the police.”
Helin Bölek, Bahar Kurt, Barış Yüksel, İbrahim Gökçek, and Ali Aracı had made a statement on the state repression against arts, police raids targeting İdil Cultural Centre, continuous concerts-ban for three years, and demanded status of Grup Yorum members.
They announced that they will conduct an indefinite and non-alternating hunger strike as of May 17, 2019 with the demand to change the government’s whole attitude towards Grup Yorum musicians.
ACCUSED OF LINKS TO TERROR
Helin Bölek and Bahar Kurt who were on trial with the accusation of links to a terrorist organization, had been released on November 20, 2019; both Helin Bölek and Bahar Kurt had maintained their hunger strike.
Meanwhile, İbrahim Gökçek had turned his hunger strike indefinit, on 199th day of his protest. İbrahim Gökçek was also released on February 24, due to his worsening health conditions in the prison.
After Gökçek’s release, Bölek declared that she will indefinitely continue her hunger strike until all pressure targeting arts in the country is lifted.
“POLICE INTERVENTION IS MORE HARMFUL THAN HUNGER STRIKE”
Also, Barış Yüksel and Ali Aracı continued their hunger strike. They figured out that they are not eager to harm themselves, “detentions, persecution, tear gas, batons are causing damage to their bodies more than we do”.
NON-CONSENTUAL MEDICAL TREATMENT
On March 11, 2020 the police had taken Helin Bölek and İbrahim Gökçek -who continued their indefinite hunger strike- to Istanbul’s Ümraniye Training and Research Hospital through a raid.
The lawyers of Bölek and Gökçek had found out that the police and the doctors will be held responsible to global public opinion for any impact on their clients as a result of imposition of “non-consensual medical treatment.”
MEETING WITH THE MINISTRY
Human right activists held a meeting with the Ministry of Interior to reiterate demands of Grup Yorum members. According to the human rights activists, the Ministry had stated that they will take into consideration the musicians’ demands “only if they break the hunger strike.
However, Helin Bölek and the other members had not agreed with the Ministry, adding that they do not trust the government’s promises.
In this process, as her mother had said, Helin Bölek was in pain, she was suffering from poor health conditions.
MUSICIAN LOSES HER LIFE IN HUNGER STRIKE
On April 3rd, Grup Yorum announced that Bölek had passed away, on their twitter account.
Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP invited people to singing Grup Yorum’s folk songs from their balconies to commemorate Helin Bölek and her music.
Grup Yorum’s songs -some sang by late Bölek- can be found on their Youtube Channel.
🔴🎵 Grup Yorum musician Helin Bölek who has been on an indefinite #HungerStrike for 288 days, lost her life.
Recently Ministry of Interior had proposed to release musicians from prison only if hunger strikes were suspended. pic.twitter.com/LYgujLLjfe
— dokuz8NEWS (@dokuz8news) April 3, 2020