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Repressions against Grup Yorum: a concert as terrorist propaganda

Repressions against Grup Yorum

Members of the Turkish political group have been on hunger strike since May. Now a solo concert in Cologne is forbidden.

Repressions against Grup Yorum: a concert as terrorist propaganda 2

Tens of thousands of fans came to Grup Yorum concerts like this one in 2012 Photo: Youtube

On 24 November, a solidarity concert was to be held in Cologne for members of the Grup Yorum group detained in Turkey. The scene was already set up at the Ezgi Center in Cologne-Braunsfeld, and the speakers and musicians were ready when the police arrived five minutes before the start of the concert, the ban being in hand. This revealed that the concert had been banned because of "the illegal propaganda of a terrorist group" and had been opened as a result of an investigation by the prosecutor.

The Cologne police then announced that they had confiscated propaganda material from a banned Turkish left-wing association in Germany, whose concert had been banned, the hall cleared and the spectators dismissed. The propaganda material included Ismail Doğan's political cartoons exhibited in the concert hall. Despite the ban, the concert took place, but not in the hall, but in the street. An official statement from Grup Yorum said: "German imperialism has made clear its cooperation with Turkish fascism!"

When the police arrived, the lawyer Berrak Çağlar of the Turkish Lawyers Association ÇHD was in the room, who was in Germany at the time of an international congress of # 39; lawyers. According to Çağlar, during Grup Yorum concerts in Germany, there were threats and difficulties in the past to find a concert hall. But a ban had been imposed for the first time. "In addition, Grup Yorum should not play, but the other 17 groups from Turkey, Germany, Chile, France and Greece," said Çağlar.

According to Çağlar, the ban is the result of a consensual agreement between the Turkish and German security and intelligence services: "Turkey is intensifying the social pressure for security and terror." The German government calls for an application harsher penalties against people of Turkish origin who they call "terrorists" and suspect them. "

Known for his political lyrics

Grup Yorum becomes a member of DHKP-C, a terrorist organization in Turkey (dt .: Revolutionary Party of the People's Liberation Party) seen and criminalized. The DHKP-C is on the list of banned associations for the protection of the German constitution. As early as May 2017, the German Ministry of the Interior, in a communication addressed to the states of Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia, had demanded that Grup Yorum's concerts not be allowed.

Since its inception in 1985, Grup Yorum has repeatedly been the target of state control. The group is known for its political lyrics: Grup Yorum talks about the Sivas massacre in 1993, the accidental miners of the 2000s and the Gezi protests in 2013. In total, the group has released 25 albums and more than two million hits. ; listeners. achieved.

In almost 35 years of existence, the members of the group have changed again and again. Thus, three generations emerged, the first in the mid-80s, the second in the 90s and finally the third which, in their songs, describes the political situation in the 2000s and after thematized. To celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2010, Grup Yorum gave a concert at Istanbul's Inönü stadium in front of 50,000 people. The musicians played in Germany, France and England. And since they have sympathizers everywhere, bans follow them everywhere.

On March 27, 2015, a new law on security was adopted by the Turkish parliament, further limiting the right of assembly. The new law strikes Grup Yorum first. The concert they wanted to organize on April 12, 2015 was banned. Since then Grup Yorum has never been allowed to attend a major event. The group then tried to broadcast their music on the streets. But even there, the police overwhelmingly opposed the musicians and their stubborn audience. They started playing in truck trailers when the police chased them out of the area. They went to the rooftops or tried to stream live on the Internet.

She is considered one of the most wanted terrorists

The proclamation of the state of emergency following the coup attempt of July 15, 2016 further intensified the political repression. The cultural center "İdil Kültür Merkezi", where the group has been active since 2016, has been searched countless times, the musical instruments were destroyed and dozens of members of the association were arrested.

In protest against the crackdown, five imprisoned gang members went on a hunger strike in May. The hunger strike, which now lasts nearly 200 days, has reached a critical point for health, said lawyer Çağlar. Helin Bölek and Bahar Kurt, two members of Grup Yorum, who were released last week, continue their hunger strike. İbrahim Gökçek, Barış Yüksel and Ali Aracı are still on hunger strike in Silivri's maximum security prison. They demand the cessation of the criminal prosecution, the lifting of the ban, the release of the members of the band and the end of the searches at the cultural center of Edil.

Selma Altın, a member of Grup Yorum, considered one of the most wanted terrorists in Turkey and seeking asylum in France, also demands "the removal of the names of the musicians from the list of terrorists". The Turkish Ministry of the Interior has offered 300,000 Turkish liras as a reward for the capture of Altın and her husband İnan. But art can not be banned, says Selma Altın. On the contrary, even: "If the repressions go up, Grup Yorum grows up, and if Grup Yorum grows up, so does the repression."

In France, a signature campaign was launched on November 9 in favor of Grup Yorum. A group of French musicians expressed their solidarity with the imprisoned group members by presenting Grup Yorum's songs on stage. Selma Altın recounts that the repression inflicted on Turkish intellectuals, writers and artists surprises her French colleagues. "It is only when we show them concrete examples that they understand what is happening, for example, we have to show them the terrorist lists that bear our names, but when they realize the seriousness, they are totally involved. "

Turkish by Julia Lauenstein