Musician Ibrahim Gökçek of the left-wing Turkish band Grup Yorum has ended a prolonged hunger strike on Tuesday after favorable negotiations with Turkish authorities over the lifting of concert bans on the group, Gazete Duvar said.
“Our resistance has gained a political victory. We announced this to the whole world. We, as Grup Yorum members, made a decision. There are positive discussions now and we hope that the rest will be positive. Now, our friends have applied for a concert to the Istanbul governorate,” the group said in a statement.
On Apr. 3, musician Helin Bölek of the band died on the 288th day of the hunger strike.
Gökçek had been on an intermittent hunger strike of 322 days to demand the lifting of concert bans on the group, an end to raids on the band’s cultural center, and the release of imprisoned band members.
The folk collective has performed in various line-ups since it was formed in 1985 and has released 23 albums. But it has not been allowed to perform since 2016 as the Turkish authorities have accused members of being affiliated to the DHKP-C, a militant Marxist group considered to be a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.
Bölek and Gökçek were arrested in early 2019. Bölek was released at the end of 2019 and continued her hunger strike, while Gökçek was released in February 2020 on medical grounds. However, both were arrested again on March 11 and taken to Ümraniye Training and Research Hospital. They were again released on March 16.