Tribute to Helin Bölek of Group Yorum

Masses paid tribute to the political music band Group Yorum member Helin Bölek who lost her life on day 288 of death fast against State repression and ban on the band.

Helin Bölek, a member of the left-wing musical band Group Yorum, passed away on the 288th day of her death fast on Friday.  Helin Bölek and Ibrahim Gökçek, another member of the band, were arrested about a year ago during a house search at the Idil Cultural Centre in Istanbul. They are accused of membership in the banned Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP-C). After going on a hunger strike, which they later turned into death fast, Bölek was released in November 2019 and Gökçek on February 24. Both musicians continued their fast demanding an end to the reprisals against the popular left music formation.

The 25th year concert of the group with the participation of several musicians standing in solidarity with them against repression. The concert in June, 2010 was attended by 55,000 people.

Bölek has lost her life earlier today, in the ‘Resistance House’ in Küçük Armutlu neighborhod in Istanbul. The protest of Bölek and Gökçek called for the release of the detained group members, the lifting of the arrest orders against them and an end to the ban on the performance of the band.

Masses paid tribute to Bölek in the neighborhood in late afternoon. Her coffin was covered with carnations and carried by women on their shoulders. Helin’s mother Aygül Bilge was accompanied by mothers from TAYAD (Association of Solidarity with the Families of Prisoners).

During the memorial in the garden of the Cemevi (Alevi place of worship), people sang a song of the band, “Bize Ölüm Yok” (No death for us) and chanted “Helin Bölek is immortal”,  “Long live our death fast resistance” and "Group Yorum is the people, it cannot be silenced". 

Ibrahim Gökçek, who continues his death fast, joined the memorial on wheelchair, take his leave of his companion for the last time.

Speaking here, Gökçek said that they would be victorious, whatever it may cost, and give their concerts again.

Gökçek reiterated their demands for the release of the jailed members of the band and removal of all the bans imposed on them.

“You will not be able to give an account of what has happened,” he said, addressing his remarks to those responsible.

To the people joining the memorial, he said; “We salute you with the warmth of our songs. Let’s resist, win and celebrate victory all together.”

Another member of the band, Seher Adıgüzel, told that Helin resisted to the last breath and never lost her love for her people.

“Our demands are legitimate, and we will achieve victory basing on that legitimacy. Today, Helin has closed her eyes trusting us. We give her our word here today and we will win our struggle.”

Adıgüzel called for strong participation in the funeral to take place at the Cemevi in Okmeydanı tomorrow.