Turkey: Musician of Grup Yorum detained

14 February 2012

The following was reported by IPS Communication Foundation, Bianet, who sent out this notice on 13 February 2012 through IFEX, the network of free expression groups that monitors violations worldwide:

(BIANET/IFEX) – Seckin Aydogan, a member of the band Grup Yorum (“Group Comment”), has been in detention for six weeks. He was taken into custody on 13 December 2011 during a police raid on the Rights Association in Nurtepe, and formally arrested three days later. He is being held at the Tekirdag No. 1 F Type Prison and is scheduled to appear at his first hearing at the Caglayan (Istanbul) courthouse on 2 April 2012.

The group was founded in 1985. Its members have been exposed to near-constant arrests, imprisonment and bans. The band is known for its politically charged lyrics. The Galatasary square was crowded with fans who sang along with their favourite tunes and performed the halay folk dance.

In a press release, the band announced, “Yet one additional new illegal pressure was imposed on Grup Yorum and their listeners. University students were arrested in Samsun because they organized a Grup Yorum concert. They were handed down prison sentences of up to 13 years. After that, Education and Science Workers’ Union (Egitim-Sen) member Berivan Dogan was sentenced to ten months in jail on charges of ‘propaganda for a criminal organization’ because lyrics of a Grup Yorum song were found on her computer”.

“On 10 May 2011, Tavir magazine owner Bahar Kurt was taken into custody in the course of a raid on the Idil Culture Centre. In the indictment, the album ‘Cemo’ was alleged of “public incitement to committing crimes within the activities of a terrorist organization” and Grup Yorum members were charged with “the attempt to acquire members for an illegal organization”.

“Minster of the Interior Idris Naim Sahin announced that ‘terrorism was being supported’ with concerts, poems and pictures. Nowadays, having opposing ideas to the policies of the power and their applications is enough to be arrested or taken into custody”, it was said in the press release.

According to the indictment prepared by Prosecutor Huseyin Kaplan, Aydogan attended a rally at Taksim square (Istanbul) calling for the release of the employees of “Yuruyus” magazine. He is also alleged of “having chanted slogans”. Thus, he is being tried on charges of “opposing Law No.2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations”, “propaganda for an illegal organization” according to Article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and “membership of an illegal organization” as ordered in Article 314 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK).

The band is going to perform for the duration of two months in solidarity with Aydogan. Performances will be held every Sunday at 6:00 pm in front of their banner featuring “Freedom for Seckin Aydogan” at the Galatasaray square in central Istanbul until 2 April. The first concert was held on 5 February. Grup Yorum invited all their fans and everybody who would like to support them to the hearing before the 15th High Criminal Court at the Caglayan Courthouse on 2 April.

More information

IPS Communication Foundation
Faikpasa Sokak, Faikpasa Apt. No. 37, Kat 3
34425 Beyoglu, Istanbul, Turkey
bia (@)
Phone: +90 212 2511503
Fax: +90 212 2511609

Antenna’s Freedom of Expression Weekly Bulletin (Issue 7/12) reported the following on 12 February 2012:

Biletix also investigates ‘terrorism’

Recently, 6 university students were sentenced to 1 year to 13 years of imprisonment for “being a member of a terrorist organization” when they sold tickets for Group Yorum in Malatya.

Biletix authorities told the organizers of Group Yorum before their Bursa concert that, “Biletix have decided not to sell Group Yorum tickets for they support a terrorist organization”. The news was protested at websites and social media. Biletix management made a statement and rejected the claims of embargo but that they are evaluating the legal decision.

Ali Şenol of Ada Organisation which organizes Group Yorum concerts reacted harshly to Biletix: “Who are you to evaluate jurisdiction? For what reason are Group Yorum concert tickets not sold? Who granted you this authorization?”

And Biletix declared that they will sell concert tickets of Group Yorum: “There is no legal problem to sell concert tickets of Group Yorum. We will do so happily in the future.”



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Click to see video interview with Grup YorumGrup Yorum

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Related information about Grup Yorum’s case

Hurriyet Daily – 10 May 2011:

‘Band members detained in police raid’


BİA Haber Merkezi – 10 May 2011:

‘Grup Yorum Üyelerinin Gözaltına Alınması Korsanlık’

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