Turkish musician dies on 288th day of hunger strike

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28-year-old Turkish singer Helin Bolek, member of a banned Turkish folk group dies following hunger strike over government treatment.

A member of a popular folk music group that is banned in Turkey died on the 288th day of a hunger strike. The singer and her colleague had begun the strike while imprisoned to protest at the government’s treatment of their band.

Grup Yorum is a folk collective with a rotating membership. The group has been prohibited from performing in Turkey since 2016, and authorities have jailed some of its members, The Guardian reported.

Although Bölek was released on November 20, she continued her hunger strike with the intent to pursue it until her own death, alongside Grup Yorum member İbrahim Gökçek, both of whom were hospitalized against their wishes in March.

Both were discharged a week later after they refused treatment, the Ankara-based Human Rights Association (IHD) said.

According to The New York Times, the government accuses Grup Yorum of links to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP/C. The militant group is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

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