The Brussels International Center (BIC) wishes to express our deepest condolences with news of the passing of Grup Yorum member, Helin Bölek on the 3rd of April in Instanbul. Helin Bölek died after 288 days of her death fast, in protest of the prosecution of other members of Grup Yorum. The news of her death brings a great deal of concern to the ongoing human rights violations in Turkey, and the failure of the Turkish government to prevent death by hunger strikes as a form of protest. BIC blames the Turkish government for the death of Grup Yorum artist and calls the International community to accelerate the change of situation in Turkey.
Following a report that was published by the BIC in early March, which reported on the ongoing human rights violations against artists and activists in Turkey, the BIC has been closely monitoring the further deterioration of the human rights landscape and the inability of the Turkish government to implement legal changes in order to improve the situation of artists and activists in Turkey. This report interviewed one of the band members of Grup Yorum, who sought refuge in Germany after being arrested in Turkey. The hunger strikes, unfortunately, are not unique to artists and activists, and many remain on hunger strike today, including other members of Grup Yorum.
The Brussels International Center blames the Turkish government for the lives of the remaining Turkish political detainees and calls upon the Turkish government to take immediate action to improve the human rights situation in Turkey, while noting that musicians, artists and activists are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations and arbitrary arrests or detention. The Center also calls on international organizations to confront the Turkish abuses of political detainees and preserve their lives. Improving the human rights landscape in Turkey is imperative to the safety of thousands of people around the country, and those facing death from hunger strikes must have their rights and health restored to them in the process.