Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
Dear Foreign Secretary
Ref. Justice for the Turkish music group “Grup Yorum”
We write to express our concerns at the threat to the lives of the members of the popular Turkish folk band, Grup Yorum, who have been on hunger strike in protest at Turkey’s persecution of the band including a ban on its performances first imposed in 2016.
The musicians allege that they are being unfairly singled out because of their outspoken political stand against social injustices in their country.
The Turkish government claims that Grup Yorum is linked to the banned Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C), which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Two of the group’s leading members, Helin Bolek and Ibrahim Gokcek, have been on a hunger strike (or “death fast”) for approaching 260 days, and appear extremely frail which is clear from photographs that were released a fortnight ago.
Mustafa Kocak has given details via his lawyers of shocking allegations of the torture, physical and verbal abuse, including sexual assault and forced feeding which he has been subjected to while in detention. Such appalling treatment of prisoners are clear violations of human rights and as such are totally unacceptable. 1)
The band members have stated that they are prepared to die unless their demands are met.
They want the ban on their concerts to be lifted, for jailed members of the group to be released and for the legal cases against them to be dropped.
All allegations of torture, violation of human rights and mistreatment in detention need to be properly investigated and Turkey like any other country needs to be held to account.
We call on the British Foreign Office to intercede with the Turkish authorities on this issue as a matter of urgency. Turkey’s political leaders should be compelled to open negotiations with the group as a step towards meeting the demands of the hunger strikes to ensure that the protest is ended before it is too late.
Grup Yorum are internationally renowned musicians and have a loyal following in the UK. It would be a great tragedy if their lives were to be sacrificed.
It is a humanitarian issue that deserves your urgent attention. We urge you to take what action is available to you through your many official bilateral and multilateral contacts with Turkey.
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
44 Ainger Road, London NW3 3AT
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
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