Artists In Athens Release Video Of Beautifully Orchestrated Performance In Solidarity With Turkish Grup Yorum Musicians Who Died On Hunger Strike Fighting For The Right To Freedom Of Expression Against Erdoğan's Inhumane Regime

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Artists In Athens Release Video Of Beautifully Orchestrated Performance In Solidarity With Turkish Grup Yorum Musicians Who Died On Hunger Strike Fighting For The Right To Freedom Of Expression Against Erdoğan's Inhumane Regime

In May 2020, İbrahim Gökçek, a musician with the Turkish group Grup Yorum died on hunger strike after beginning a death-fast in January. The death was barely reported in any press worldwide. The death of 40 year old Gökçek came just one month after the passing of 28-year-old Helin Bölek, also from Grup Yorum, and who also died on hunger strike. Gökçek had been protesting the detention of his wife, who continues to be held in a Turkish prison.


Grup Yorum, who were formed in 1985, are a Turkish folk band whose songs have supported left-wing and progressive causes both in Turkey and abroad.


Since their formation, the Turkish state have accused them of being members of, or supporting, terrorist groups, and of undermining the Turkish state. This has led to clampdowns by the Turkish authorities.


Grup Yorum concerts have been frequently banned, their music outlawed on radio and, many members have been detained, jailed and allegedly tortured.


Despite these clamp-downs, Grup Yorum remains one of the biggest selling bands in Turkish music history, and has gained millions of fans from around the world. Over the years, the band has had a large rolling membership, meaning dozens of different musicians have been a part of the group, giving it a collective edge in line with the group's political ideologies.


Hunger-strikes in Turkey are not uncommon. In May 2019, 3,000 Kurdish prisoners ended a hunger-strike when their leader was granted access to lawyers.


Despite the low-level of international media interest, other singers and musicians have stood in solidarity against the oppression of Grup Yorum and in solidarity with their hunger strike. In 2017 Joan Baez, a famed US folk singer who has played with Grup Yorum in the past, released a statement saying:


"The real reason behind your arrest is that your music and work touches people, mobilises them and encourages them, and the fact you are righteous in your thoughts. You should continue to be brave."


In the immediate aftermath of the deaths in May 2020, a collective of Greek musicians and art workers (-among those who have been fighting for the financial support of people working under the arts industry during the pandemic), under the initiative: Support Art Workers, performed a small concert by The Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a stone Roman theater structure located on the southwest slope of the Acropolis of Athens.


The group performed the song "Tencere Tava Havası" by Turkish artist Kardeş Türküler. The music video, shot also by a drone, captures a remarkable piece of performance art that stands in peaceful opposition to the oppression of the Turkish state.


The whole video can be watched below:



Turkey is increasingly being seen as a pariah state, and now has more journalists imprisoned than any other country in the world. It continues to bomb Kurds both in Northern Syria and in Turkey, and their Islamist leader has been continually accused of attempting to end Turkish democracy and create an Islamic based state.

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Thinking Humanity: Artists In Athens Release Video Of Beautifully Orchestrated Performance In Solidarity With Turkish Grup Yorum Musicians Who Died On Hunger Strike Fighting For The Right To Freedom Of Expression Against Erdoğan's Inhumane Regime
Artists In Athens Release Video Of Beautifully Orchestrated Performance In Solidarity With Turkish Grup Yorum Musicians Who Died On Hunger Strike Fighting For The Right To Freedom Of Expression Against Erdoğan's Inhumane Regime
In May 2020, İbrahim Gökçek, a musician with the Turkish group Grup Yorum died on hunger strike after beginning a death-fast in January. The death was barely reported in any press worldwide. The death of 40 year old Gökçek came just one month after the passing of 28-year-old Helin Bölek, also from Grup Yorum, and who also died on hunger strike. Gökçek had been protesting the detention of his wife, who continues to be held in a Turkish prison. Grup Yorum, who were formed in 1985, are a Turkish folk band whose songs have supported left-wing and progressive causes both in Turkey and abroad.
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