Musician Helin Bölek, from Turkish band Grup Yorum, has died after 288 days on hunger strike.

Amidst the global fight to contain the CONVID-19 pandemic, we must remember the many struggles around the world that prevail.

Helin Bölek, a young musician and leading member of Grup Yorum, defended with her own life the right to sing the truth. Bölek, along with band mate Ibrahim Gokcek, went on a hunger strike to demand an end to censorship of the band, an end to police raids on the Idil cultural centre used by the band in Istanbul, and the release of imprisoned musicians.

On March 11, police forces abducted Ibrahim and Helin from the Grup Yorum House of Resistance in Istanbul and arrested them in order to take them to hospital for force-feeding.

We denounce the Turkish government, whose actions brought about the death of this young musician.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Turkish government has announced a plan to substitute prison time for alternatives such as early parole or house arrest, which could apply to up to 100,000 inmates. This measure is in line with the recent call made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to all governments. We demand that this measure be applied in a non-discriminatory and objective manner, based on health rather than political criteria. We urge the Turkish authorities to release every person detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting political views.


Özlem Demirel

Giorgos Georgiou

Niyazi Kizilyurek

Nikolaj Villumsen

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