Singer Helin Bolek, 28, of Grup Yorum, was protesting against government’s treatment of group
Fri 3 Apr 2020
A member of a popular folk music group that is banned in Turkey has died on the 288th day of a hunger strike. The singer and a colleague had started the strike while imprisoned to protest at the government’s treatment of their band, according to a post on the group’s Twitter account.
Grup Yorum, known for their protest songs, said Helin Bolek, 28, had died on Friday at a home in Istanbul where she had been staging the hunger strike in an attempt to pressure the government into reversing its position on the band and its members.
Grup Yorum is a folk collective with a rotating membership. The group has been prohibited from performing in Turkey since 2016, and authorities have jailed some of its members.
The government accuses Grup Yorum of links to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP/C. The militant group is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Bolek and a fellow band member, Ibrahim Gokcek, had embarked on the hunger strike while in prison to press the government to lift the ban and free detained band members. They were released in November.