On August 5 agents of political police and SWAT teams, raided Ayçe İdil Erkmen Culture Center, located in Istanbul’s Okmeydani district, where leftist music band Grup Yorum develops its musical works and detained six people there, including former hunger-striking university lecturer Nuriye Gülmen. The People’s Law Bureau announced on August 11 that Gülmen was among the two who were imprisoned in the case.
After being held under custody at the headquarters of the political police in Istanbul, for about one week, the six people who were detained during the police raid against Ayçe İdil Erkmen Cultural center, located in the city’s Okmeydani district, yesterday were finally brought to the court.
During their detention, the 6 detainees went on a hunger strike to protest their illegal detention, after the prosecutor extended their detention period in the last weekend, with more 3 days, they stopped to take water and sugar during their hunger strike.
The detainees first gave testimonies before a prosecutor. After the testimony was taken, the prosecutor in the case asked the court to impose a measure of permanent detention for 5 of the detainees, and for 1 of them to be released under judicial control measure.
The court, which faced the six detainees, imposed a measure of permanent detention on two of the detainees: university lecturer Nuriye Gülmen and Rıdvan Akbaş, an employee of the raided cultural center. The other detainees were released under judicial control measures, and the court issued a ban for them from leaving the country. They are obligated to sign every day in the local police station, in the districts in which they live.
Nuriye Gülmen is a former university lecturer, who became a symbol of resistance against the purges of the fascist oligarchy in Turkey which begin after the coup attempt in July 2016. Together with primary school teacher Semih Özakça, she went on a hunger strike in March 2017, after they were being dismissed from their jobs through a state of emergency decree issued by the government.
Gülmen was among those detained on August 5 during a police raid at Istanbul’s Ayçe İdil Erkmen Culture Center, which is run by members of the leftist music band Grup Yorum.
The specific reason for which Nuriye Gulmen was in the cultural center was to make an interview with the members of the Grup Yorum before their concert scheduled for August 9, which was expected to be the group’s first open-air concert in last several years.
“Our clients Nuriye Gülmen and Rıdvan Akbaş have been imprisoned. Our clients Yasemin Karadağ, Fırat Kaya, and Ezgi Kul have been released under judicial control,” said the lawyers from the People’s Law Bureau on their official Twitter account.
Meanwhile, in the last few days, the bourgeois media in Turkey which serves the fascist oligarchy spread the lie that people who were detained during the raid on August 5, participated in an “illegal organization meeting” and that the cultural center is “the headquarters of an illegal organization.” Thus, once again in recent years, the fascist oligarchy, through the bourgeois media, is trying to criminalize the Ayçe Idil Erkmen cultural center, turning it into a target of new attacks and repressions.
Gülmen is a former university lecturer, went on a hunger strike in March 2017 along with another educator named Semih Özakça, after being dismissed from her job through a state of emergency decree. Gülmen and Özakça were arrested at the end of May 2017, later on, charges of belonging to the outlawed militant leftist Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). The fascist oligarchy was forced to release Gülmen in December 2017, whereas Özakça in October 2017.
After spending almost 11 months in a hunger strike, Gülmen and Özakça ended their protest in January 2018, declaring a political victory.