“Grup Yorum is in our house” – The answer of the people to fascism’s lists, death threats and attempts to encourage informers

Grup Yorum in the fight… Grup Yorum in the city neighbourhoods… In the universities… In the factories… In the villages… In the prisons… Grup Yorum is everywhere where the people and the struggle are…

The children of the people sing the folk songs of the people, they defend the government of the people!

In the darkest cells, songs of hope surround us

In the torture chambers songs of hope are on our lips

In areas of action our enthusiasm, our outcry in the struggle, our partner in our last words, our position, our harbour, our melody, our hope, our love and our anger is GRUP YORUM!

On April 29 hundreds of thousands were together with Grup Yorum on the screen. This was a concert conducted under the terror of the AKP fascist government. Hundreds of thousands turned on the computers and their phones for the Grup Yorum concert, to oppose the terrorism of AKP fascism. In people’s associations, houses, workplaces, on journeys, in parks, they were together with Grup Yorum. With the same courage, the same resolve, two days later they went out into Taksim May Day Square. Despite knowing the likelihood of being assaulted and arrested, we defended our historic space.

Grup Yorum’s Independent Turkey concerts and rallys in Taksim on May Day are two of the AKP’s biggest fears. For this reason both were prohibited. What both have in common is that they draw hundreds of thousands, even millions together against the AKP government and bear the stamp of the revolutionary movement. In both of them the red banners of revolution are present and in both of them slogans for independence, democracy and socialism echo across the sky.

The AKP also banned both of them. Fascist terrorism uses everything and tried to do everything to prevent them. We did not surrender to fascist terror. Grup Yorum’s concerts have continued in every form everywhere. We did not give up the May Day Square.

This persistence and determination is written into the history of revolution in Turkey. The conciliators, those prone to surrender and the liquidationists have never been dominant – the only thing they have done is be pulled in the wake of the ruling classes. On April 29, screens in four corners of Anatolia had inscribed on them the folk songs and marches that challenge AKP fascism. On May Day, it was May Day present in the square, not surrender.

The prices on our heads were their reply to “This is the fight”

Grup Yorum’s folk songs of hope have never been silent since 1985. Grup Yorum’s first album was “Siyrilip Gelen” in 1987. Since that day 23 albums have been published, the latest is Ille Kavga (“This is the fight”). This is the name of unchanging resistance and struggle in the face of fascism.

In its 33 years of history Grup Yorum has been targeted with repression, torture and imprisonment. Today attacks on people’s artists have reached a level surpassing what went on before. Today, 10 Grup Yorum members are in jail, and six others are on the “wanted” list, with 300,000 lira prices on their heads.

There is scarcely a country in the world that has such attacks on a music group. Fascism has stepped up its attacks on Grup Yorum with repression, torture, detention, raids and imprisonment; it has got to the point that Grup Yorum members have prices on their heads. Why is this?

Because Grup Yorum sings folk songs of resistance and war, independence, democracy and socialism, and anti-imperialism; because Grup Yorum is not just a group that performs folk songs on a stage; it is a music group that performs at strikes and in front of factories, at mines, in front of prisons, in city squares, in poor neighbourhoods, in short, wherever there is an action with resistance and a search for rights. With its Independent Turkey concerts, it has attracted numbers no other artist in Turkey has reached and together with hundreds of thousands, has raised high the flag of anti-imperialism.

In its latest 8th Independent Turkey concert, it again created a first, making a concert in the face of bans and repression and again on the first day the number of viewers was in the hundreds of thousands (a definite figure will be announced later).

AKP fascism has again lost out to revolutionary will and creativity. It could not prevent the folk songs of the people, the folk songs of hope reaching the four corners of the earth.

What is Grup Yorum saying?

We are the people, we are among the people, if you ban us, shoot our cassettes, throw us in prison, try to isolate us, we are still here; we sing our songs in the presence of our people. We are here and we are against you; because we have the force of history on our side. We come from the tradition of those who did not surrender.

What is the system saying?

If you sing your folk songs we will ban your concerts, it says. If you persist in your line of being people’s artists, if you continue to bring hope with your people’ folk songs and marches, repression, prison, prices on your head and death are what you can expect.

What is the answer of the PEOPLE?

In answer, it says, wherever the enemies of the people search for Grup Yorum, it is to be found “in our house”. Hundreds of thousands follow Grup Yorum concerts.

From April 29, 2018 to 1985… Look at history…

The answer of the 8th Independent Turkey Concert to AKP fascism was, you will never finish us and you will never silence us. A group with 10 members in jail and six being hunted still once again gave a concert for hundreds of thousands. Those who were imprisoned or on wanted lists again came out on stage: Ali Araci, Ibrahim Gokcek, Sultan Gokcek, Selma Altin, Inan Altin, Firat Kil, Dilan Poyraz, Helin Bolek, Betul Varan, Ihsan Cibelik, Bergun Varan, Seher Adiguzel, Dilan Ekin, Bahar Kurt, Emel Yesilirmak and Eren Erdem were there. 21 new Grup Yorum members accompanied them.

Grup Yorum was established in 1985, in the years following the September 12, 1980 fascist coup. Their folk songs and marches have been the voice of courage and resistance in the mist of intimidation. Grup Yorum folk songs have built up hope at times of hopelessness. They put up resistance to intimidation. Grup Yorum was the voice of Anatolia’s peoples; in the face of repression, bans and confiscations, it has sung in Kurdish, Laz, Georgian, Arabic and Zaza.

It was the year 1990; Grup Yorum’s Mersim concert was banned. Members of Grup Yorum did not recognise the ban and sang songs in front of the hall, and were then detained and imprisoned. They spent two months in prison; while they were in Mersin Prison they fashioned flutes from the handles of safety razors. The folk song Cemo arose from this period. After that they were repeatedly detained and imprisoned.

In 1993 the Konya State Security Court issued an arrest and imprisonment warrant against Grup Yorum members. But no Grup Yorum member ever surrendered.

It was the year 1990; Grup Yorum’s Mersin concert was banned. Grup Yorum did not recognise the ban and were arrested while singing folk songs outside the concert hall.

They were taken and arrested. They were jailed for more than two months; during this time they made flutes out of the handles of safety razors while in prison and so continued to produce, Cemo came out during this time. Afterwards they were many times detained and arrested.

In 1993 Konya DGM (State Security Court) issued an arrest warrant for Grup Yorum.

But they could not make any Grup Yorum member surrender. Fascism raided many houses of Grup Yorum members. Grup Yorum members continued their work illegally. At no period in history have they surrendered.

Today there are prices on their heads. None of the Grup Yorum members have surrendered and under different conditions they are continuing production. Revolutionary artists are in conditions of fascism, but it is possible! To surrender has never even crossed their minds. Surrender, today means to deny everything, to deny even oneself!

Yorum Has Grown Stronger From Being Attacked

Grup Yorum has been in every area of struggle from the late 1980s and in the years since the 1990s, there has been no arena of struggle where Grup Yorum did not appear. Concerts reached many parts of Anatolia and they have become an inseparable part of the resistance and the struggle.

People’s artists are not merely passive supporters – they are resisters. Grup Yorum has paid a price and also given martyrs!

During the 1996 Death Fast one of the people’s artists Ayce Idil Erkmen was also a prisoner and was one of those who lay down to die in prison. Idil in the struggle was not simply an artist on stage, she was one of those to the fore in every area of the struggle in life and taught others with her life.

Ayce Idil Erkmen was the first woman death fast martyr in the world, and with the words “Those who think life unimportant do not know how to die for the homeland,” she summarised people’s art. This is part of Grup Yorum’s ideology.

For this reason it has never heeded bourgeois calls, “Let us not be ideological”.

Grup Yorum is revolutionary. It sees music as a part of the fight for revolution, for this when others criticise with sophistry about “sloganised music” they toss this to one side and continue on their way. Grup Yorum defends organisation and is organised – those who utter petit bourgeois thoughts about “the fatality of creating organisation” have been bankrupted and crushed many times by their folk songs. Grup Yorum has never surrendered to the status quo of the system.

The socialist countries may have been overturned but but even massacres of the people and the revolutionaries will not cause them to abandon revolution and socialism.

It is this that is the explanation for repression, torture, imprisonment and other attacks on Grup Yorum.

Dozens Of Albums,Thousands Of Concerts, Thousands Of Concerts, Thousands Of Resisters, And The Squares Filled With Millions

Grup Yorum is wherever there is resistance. Wherever there is resistance, the anger, bitterness and enthusiasm of rsistance is present in the music notes of Grup Yorum.

They were the voice of miners in Zonguldak, the voice of those crushed by the earthquake in Golcuk. In Soma, Roboski, Sur, Cizre, the Van earthquake,

In workers’ resistance, in Kazova, in the June Uprising (2013), in the resistance of Nuriye and Semih, they have been the voice, of those who resist and who experience oppression.

The Meaning Of The Slogan “Grup Yorum Is The People” Is Here

And this is the reason for the repression by the system today. But no repression and terror could stop the development of Grup Yorum. Concerts took place in dozens of cities, there were concerts in Harbiye, there is the treasury of experience piled up by over 20 years of practice. This accumulation led by real revolutionary politics with courage was turned into stadium concerts.

The 2010 Inonu Stadium concert, more than just being a concert, it was also a show of their own strength to the left, the revolutionaries and the people.

Grup Yorum achieved what dozens of artists coming together in our country could not do. Fully 55,000 people gathered in Inonu Stadium.

The preparation for this concert and the concert itself were the first link in the chain of the people becoming aware of their own strength.

The period of preparing the concert was educational for everyone and indeed the people themselves made this concert.

Grup Yorum members were present in every aspect of this process – selling tickets for performances, people’s meetings, distributing leaflets, putting up posters – everything. This is what has distinguished Grup Yorum from others – in life, in the struggle, in practice. Certainly 55,000-STRONG CONCERTS ARE NOT THE RESULT OF SEVERAL WEEKS’ WORK, BUT OF 25 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE.

Grup Yorum’s “Hic Durmadan” (“Without Stopping”) concert was like a snow machine, it continued to clear the way.

For Grup Yorum, concerts of hundreds of thousands have been important but they have also performed in front of hundreds. What is essential is that it serves organising, the struggle and developing awareness.

Indeed right after the Inonu concert a concert was held in the marketplace of Antakya.

From The Stadiums To The Squares

In capitalism, money relations come between the artist and the people. Grup Yorum has broken down this status quo by holding free concerts in city squares. Grup Yorum’s aim has never been one of making millions of lira. Grup Yorum’s sole aim is to have songs of hope reach the people. It explains revolution, socialism, resistance and the class war to the masses. Grup Yorum has wanted to reach the poorest people and it has done so.

It has never been like system artists. It has also never been like the artists of reformism who act within the limits placed by the status quo.

I sing songs and do not care what goes beyond that” – it has never made that kind of statement.

It has had to think about every detail of concerts, from the sound system to the toilets, from setting up stands to transport problems… This is why committees were established in every neighbourhood, and buses arranged.

A lot of buses have been organised in Turkey. For the first Indepndent Turkey concerts, 500 committees were formed; Grup Yorum volunteers appeared there. This opened the way for Grup Yorum to reach millions. In 2011, there were 150,000 people in Bakirkoy, a veritable sea of people. The banner TOTALLY INDEPENDENT TURKEY was displayed on the stage.

Again, in 2012 in Bakirkoy a mass of 350,000 people came out into the square. The square once again showed the people’s confidence in the Front.

In 2013 Grup Yorum took another step forward and made further claims, in Bakirkoy it reached 550,000 people.

The people were there. They never left the squares empty for fascism. Every concert raised hopes a little further.

In 2014 and 2015, numbers henceforth were a more secondary consideration but Grup Yorum began to reach a human sea that approaching the level of millions. In Izmir a concert of 700,000 people was held. Grup Yorum with its folk songs, its marches, called to the peoples from the stage. It called to the peoples of Anatolia from Kizildere and from peopl like Mahir in Dersim, and from the Andes Mountains to Commandante Che, it turned the pages of history with millions of people. This was more than the system could stand.

Millions among the people saw their own strength. Millions saw the politics of the Front. The system was afraid, the system was helpless, decades had not prevented it and it was up against an enthusiastic sea of people; it decided to attack.

AKP Government Calculates “How Do I Finish Them Off?”

The first thing the AKP did was to ban the Independent Turkey concerts, after that it banned all Grup Yorum concerts. On several occasions raids were carried out on Idil Culture Centre which organises Grup Yorum’s work. Idil Culture Centre was raided four times in the past year aloe, workers were detained, tortured and imprisoned. Instruments were broken in every raid. Documents for work were confiscated.

Every raid resulted in Grup Yorum members being tortured, detained and imprisoned. The AKP government used TORTURE as one of its most basic methods to prevent people’s art. The FORMS of torture used by the police against people’s artists showed the extent of their fears: police detained people’s artists and even broke fingers and arms saying that was to stop them using instruments.

They said they wanted to destroy Selma Altin’s hearing acuity so they used a special tool to burst her eardrums. To stop Inan Altin from using his drums properly they tore fibres in his shoulder.

This was also why they hit Sultan Gokcek in the face to split her lip, why they broke Ali Aracı’s arm to stop him playing the flute and why they tortured Bergun Varan by pulling her hair out.

When AKP fascism still could not get a result with all these attacks, it sought to get what it wanted by raiding Idil Culture Centre again and again and destroying everything. But its main attack was the terrorism when it began to jail People’s Front members. Nor were the attacks confined to our country. European imperialism also became uneasy about concerts that attracted tens of thousands of people in Germany. Germany tried to ban Grup Yorum concerts. After Germany the Dutch state also said “We do not allow concerts.” Imperialists put bans on Grup Yorum members entering their countries. Again Grup Yorum was in front of concert buildings. Grup Yorum volunters began to go over to the resistance in the squares. Concerts and festivals were all held despite all obstructions.

In response to the bans by European imperialism, new young members began to be recruited in Europe. At the moment Grup Yorum is in a position of being able to give concerts in Europe and its youngest member is aged 17.

Grup Yorum Is Organised And Organises Others

The oligarchy wanted to finish off Grup Yorum. In answer to the “finish” policy Grup Yorum has itself never been devoid of policy, and it set up choruses.

Grup Yorum has continually been able to counter those who seek to finish it off by creating new sources. This was also Grup Yorum’s answer – choruses were set up in a number of areas of Anatolia; Yorum people were jailed but in 11 provinces there were nearly 600 chorus members. Izmir, Istanbul, Bursa, Eskisehir, Ankara, Adana, Hatay, Dersim, Amed, Antalya…

Grup Yorum set up the Children Of Hope Orchestra in poor neighbourhoods of Istanbul and 90 children continued to produce. Children of the people received free education. In this process they both taught and learned. Grup Yorum work to create people’s artists among the people received from AKP fascism the sole response of which it is capable, fascist terror. The AKP’s police threatened chorus members and their families in 11 cities and tried to intimidate them. They also used this method against the families of the Children Of Hope Orchestra.

Grup Yorum responded to all these threats and intimidation by holding concerts with choruses. The AKP’s most recent form of helplessness was to ban concerts from being held in concert buildings but the choruses once again were able to be carried out.

The war of wills continued with repression and resistance. Grup Yorum was banned from all squares and concert buildings, including Bakirkoy. Grup Yorum said if their concerts were banned in squares they would “hold them on roofs”, and in five poor neighbourhoods they proceeded to hold “roof concerts”.

Grup Yorum Formed An Artists’ Assembly To Organise Artists

Grup Yorum’s answer to fascism’s policies of finishing and isolation politics was set to create the Artists’ Assembly. The Artists’ Assembly was the name of resistance created by Grup Yorum’s call for progressive and democratic artists against fascism. The Artists’ Assembly was a place for a place for artists to struggle for their own rights and to produce.

One of the aims of the assembly was to bring art to the people and the people to art.

In the system the artist is cut off from the people. Art is cut off from the people just like the artist is. Grup Yorum for its part is the meaning of artists for the people. Here there is no kind of separation. Grup Yorum; has sought to propagate the Artists’ Assembly with this aim in mind. The aim is to from the material and moral exploitation of the artist and to create conditions to create together with the people without being a slave of capitalism. The strenngthening of the Artists’ Assembly was another blow to system art and artists. 250 artists came together from various branches of art under the Artists’ Assembly structure. Moreover the assembly worked together with hundreds of artists. Yet another reason for fascism to be hostile to Grup Yorum!

We Are Children Of The People, We Sing The Songs Of The People, We Defend The Struggle And Power Of The People!

The artists, lawyers, architects and engineers of the people show this to everyone:

We can do it. The poor children of the people can do it.

Art, the law as a profession, engineering do not belong only to a small monopoly class…”

Without any monopoly, any government, any “sponsor’s” support

Grup Yorum has brought millions together, all our young, all the people; the oppressed, the humiliated, those left without education have been given the feling that they can create, and continue to do so.

Grup Yorum members are not graduates of “conservatories”; MANY LEFT CONSERVATORIES. Their conservatories are the school of Grup Yorum. Their teachers range from Pir Sultan to Ruhi Su, and people’s minstrels like Mahsuni.

This does not mean that Grup Yorum reject science and technology. On the contrary, Grup Yorum aims to use science and technology at the most advanced level.

Grup Yorum’s April 29 Internet concert is already an example of this. Certainly the key feature of April 29’s concert was not technology but courage, persistence and determination. AKP fascism can get no result from repression, torture and plunder. It is the folk songs of Grup Yorum that won!

In The Face Of Fascism’s Tyranny, Grup Yorum Once Again Gave Hope And An Example To Everyone

Grup Yorum’s secret for its existence, people’s art and productivity lie here; making people’s art and facing up to whatever this demands.

Against all the repression by imperialism and AKP fascism, ideological, political and military, aimed at encircling us, our struggle for indepndence, democracy and socialism continues in every area of life.

Grup Yorum will continue to be a part of this struggle, fighting in a position that cannot be torn down and be defeated.

Those who want to destroy it will never succeed. Because Grup Yorum is the people and the people can not be consumed. Because Grup Yorum is the voice of the people and the people are not silent. Grup Yorum is the people and the people do not stop!