Grup Yorum is facing a new wave of attacks. Group members were detained in a raid last week and İdil Cultural Center was destroyed. We talked with the members of the Grup Yorum about what happened during the raid, what the attacks were aimed at, how to continue the road, and the artist’s struggle against fascism.
Grup Yorum, which has been active in the field of political and original music since 1987 and has always been a part of the revolutionary struggle – like a soldier of the struggle on which the group sang its songs, marches and laments, always had to pay a price.
Despite this, neither the fight was over, nor Grup Yorum’s voice was muted. However, especially after 2015, while the AKP government tried to turn the country into a prison under fascist conditions, Grup Yorum also faced intense pressure. With the bans, it was almost made unable to perform concerts. Its members were imprisoned and became immortal in the death fast resistance.
İdil Cultural Center was tried to be terrorized …
While these attacks, aimed at preventing the group from meeting with the masses, expressed the projection of a fear, they always aroused anger among those who loved Grup Yorum.
Last week, the last of these attacks was again carried out against İdil Cultural Center, as has been repeated many times.*
Group members Betül Varan, Bergün Varan, Sultan Gökçek, Eren Erdem and FOSEM worker Barış Gürses were detained in the raid carried out by an army of police. The 4-day detention period for the 5 people who were taken into custody did not put off anyone, so it was extended for 4 more days.
Another sign of fascism’s fearful resentment against Grup Yorum was the image of destruction that emerged in the İdil Cultural Center after the raid. The institution was plundered from top to bottom, instruments were torn, books were scattered on the ground…
We talked with the group members about what happened during the raid, what the attacks were aimed at, how to continue the road and the artist’s struggle against fascism.
Translation will continue..
THE RAID WAS NOT ENOUGH, THE THREATS CONTINUE…
After a banned and attacked concert attempt, İdil Cultural Center was raided again. There are inhuman images. Yorum members were also detained. What happened during the raid moments?
They came with dozens of special operation police and broke the windows of our institution’s doors and cafe. It seemed like they were coming to enemy occupation. They dragged our friends on the ground and detained them with torture. Then they destroyed our cultural center and cafe. They broke our baglama and violin, they broke their strings. They broke the shelves of our library, they scattered all our books on the floor. They left almost no usable items in our cultural center. On the other hand, a police officer who says that he is from the Istanbul Police Headquarter’s Political Branch constantly calls and threatens our institution.
In a very glorious and honorable resistance, we buried our 2 members and 2 lives. Today, thanks to them, we are doing our revolutionary art with our heads high. Our album works continue, we are making new compositions. We published our magazine ‘Attitude’. Our work continues with full speed and enthusiasm. Our members have been released, we are together with them again. They wanted to isolate us from our people. They wanted us not to hear even the slightest voice. But they couldn’t. In this process, we think that we have more place in the tongues and hearts of the people. This is the defeat of fascism. This raid they made is the indigestion of these defeats.
‘OUR CULTURAL CENTER HAS BEEN RAIDED FOR THE SECOND TIME IN TWO MONTHS’
This is not the first time we encounter these raids and attacks. With the support of our people with solidarity, we know how to gather our cultural center after every raid. On the other hand, our cultural center was raided for the second time in two months. We are very angry with these raids. One of the demands of Helin and İbrahim was that our cultural center was not raided. Therefore, our anger is even greater. We never see raids as normal, we don’t get used to them. We also want people not to see the raids on İdil Cultural Center as ordinary, everyday events.
‘WE SING OUR SONGS FOR A COUNTRY WE DREAM OF’
The resistance that made Helin and İbrahim eternal started due to these repressions. What is the power that ignores the calls of two people who want to make their voices heard at the cost of their lives and what is the purpose of these raids? Why is Grup Yorum’s voice so feared?
We have been singing our folk songs for a country we have dreamed of for 35 years. What kind of country? A country where imperialism does not penetrate to the marrow; an independent Turkey. A democratic Turkey, where fascism doesn’t cover up with their vulgar laws intended to cover its injustice. A socialist Turkey, where there is no exploitation of labor, hunger, poverty and assasinations in work. For this, we made songs about Soma, about the massacres in Lice, Sur and Cizre. For Berkin Elvan, for sick prisoners, for the earth quake of August 17.
‘WE LIVE THE MOST INTENSIVE OF ATTACKS’
Therefore, we face repression and attacks of those who have been enemies of our dreams for 35 years. Weren’t our albums shot, weren’t our concerts banned, our rehearsals not published, weren’t we detained, tortured, or captured; we have experienced all of these. Today we are experiencing the most intense of these attacks;
Because there is a government in our country whose crisis of failure to manage is getting deeper and that will never get out of this crisis. As a music group calling on the people “not to despair, to resist, fight, make an account” and call on the people to establish their own power, we have become a much more serious threat to the AKP fascism.
Such that; awards were placed on our heads, our concerts were banned in 81 provinces with a circular of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, all our members were arrested, our cultural center was raided 10 times in 3 years. What is wanted to be done; Finishing revolutionary art, it was a kind of “Yavuz Bingöl’ization” operation. Fascism was saying that if you are going to make music, you will do it in the way I want, within the framework I have determined.
They aimed to liquidate Grup Yorum with all its identity, with what it produced, the values it created. We chose the path of resistance by saying “either surrender or death”.
We were able to reach even the deaf ears with our death fast resistance, thus we lifted the dark isolation on us. As long as we are ruled by fascism, we will continue to face repression, attacks and prohibitions. Maybe we will encounter even heavier attacks than today. But at all costs; We will continue to walk our own way, to resist even if we pay a huge price for our rights and justice. And fascism will not grant us our concert right, we will rip off!
‘AN ENEMY FOR THE PUBLIC, ART AND ARTISTS…’
While the repression on Grup Yorum have been going on to this extent for a long time, we see that the artistic activities of artists known with their “oppositional” identity were also blocked during this process. AKP has waged an all-out war against art. What do you think about the importance of art solidarity in such an environment?
What we call art is the expression of the people’s own experiences by different means. Today, the people are experiencing hunger, poverty and injustice. Artists who describe these in their works also encounter pressures and prohibitions. In other words, we have a power that is hostile to the peoples, to art, to the artist.
Nazi Germany’s Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels has the words: “When it comes to culture, my hand goes to my gun in my waist.”
AKP fascism also feeds on the same vein. One of the former ministers said, “We will clear the weeds in the field of culture and art”.
Today, they block the activities of the artists by using the pandemic as an excuse, sometimes without even making up any excuses. Concerts are banned, theater halls are closed, plays are stopped. They condemn the artists to starvation, nearly 100 musicians committed suicide during the epidemic process.
‘THEY CANNOT BUILD HEGEMONIA IN THE FIELD OF CULTURE AND ARTS’
Still, they cannot establish their hegemony in the field of culture and arts. They admit this with their own mouths, saying “We couldn’t create the results we wanted in this area.”
Yes, they can never create a poet like Nazım Hikmet. They do not have Helin Bölek, İbrahim Gökçek, Grup Yorum who will die for their art.
That’s it; it is the power of the people’s art, of socialist realist art. Artists and intellectuals of our country should also be aware of this power. Increasing this power also requires standing “shoulder to shoulder against fascism”.
In recent history, we have experienced very positive examples of artist solidarity in our country. Take the June Uprising process in 2013 as an example. There is only one reason fascism seems strong; disorganization of the people, artists and intellectuals.
We call on all art workers who are against fascism and make art for the people to come together at the Art Assembly.
MESSAGE FROM YORUM: ‘BE OUR VOICE OUR BREATHE’
What is Grup Yorum’s message to the public?
We are the artists of the people. We take our strength from the people, we rely on our people in the face of all difficulties. We have never had big big sponsors behind us. We have never received support from the government. We have never received funds, grants from EU-US imperialism and made our art.
So our only support was the people. We held our square concerts, where we gathered millions of people, and our İnönü concert, the most crowded concert with tickets in our country, with the power of our people and solidarity. When there is not a single Yorum member left out, our listeners come out and embrace the group. This is how we embody the slogan “Grup Yorum is the people, it cannot be silenced”.
We call all our people and listeners, intellectuals and artists, you press workers to support Grup Yorum, to be our voice and breathe.