Members of the popular Turkish band Grup Yorum announced that they are planning to stage a hunger strike to protest a government ‘assault on the arts’, according to a press release issued on 14 February 2014.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) “is targeting all artists that oppose it. They are closing theatres, cutting subsidies, pulling funding for films and forcibly removing actors from TV series,” the group said in its press release.
The folk-rock group, known for frequently incorporating political themes in its music, said that beginning 14 February 2014 it plans to stage a month-long hunger strike in opposition to what it considers to be an attack on the arts by the AK Party.
Several members of Grup Yorum – Ali Aracı, Ayfer Rüzgar, Selma Altın, Sultan Kavdır, Dilan Balcı and Seçkin Aydoğan – have been banned from leaving the country due to various court decisions. “In spite of countless appeals, these bans have not been lifted,” wrote the group.
“We have been singing songs for the attainment of a humane living for our peoples for 29 years now. We are being subjected to suppression but also resisting against all the repression and difficulties together with our people. We are growing as the cruel are dwindling down.”