As we have informed you, on Thursday the bass guitarist of the leftist music band from Turkey – Grup Yorum, Ibrahim Gökçek, died in the intensive care unit of Reyap Hospital in Istanbul. He was taken there on Tuesday, immediately after ending his 322-day hunger strike till death(Death Fast) resistance. The news of the musician’s death was announced by the Grup Yorum on social networks at 12:45(local time) on May 7.
Ibrahim Gökçek began his hunger strike in June 2019, along with four other members of the band, to protest the repressions of the fascist government in Turkey against them. The following demands were made at the beginning of the protest:
-Removal of the ban on concerts and venues to Grup Yorum concerts!
-Removal of our members from the wanted “terrorists” lists
-Police Raids on our cultural center be ended!
-Our Members to be released!
-Court cases to be dropped!
In the last days before the end of the hunger strike till death, the musicians brought to the fore two of their demands, which were raised at the beginning of the protest, namely the release of the imprisoned band members and the lifting of bans on the band’s concerts.
The hunger strike till death came to an end after Grup Yorum’s lawyers, human rights defenders and opposition lawmakers said they supported the group’s demands and would fight for their adoption. Negotiations have also begun to accept these requests, with lawyers for the musicians applying for permission to hold open-air concerts.
As a result, members of Grup Yorum in Turkey and Europe, together with Ibrahim Gökçek, decided to end the hunger strike till death, declaring that they had won a political victory and that the peoples of the world had heard their voice and their struggle had resonated widely.
Ibrahim Gökçek’s wife, Sultan, who is also a member of the Grup Yorum and has been in prison since December, has heard the news of her husband’s death over the phone. The fascist government did not accept the requests of Sultan’s lawyers to be allowed to participate in the funeral of Ibrahim, which right she has under current laws in the country. Subsequently, however, these applications were accepted after a campaign on social networks and the persistent attempts of lawyers.
Dozens attended to the memorial ceremony for Ibrahim Gokcek at the prayer house in Istanbul Gazi district
At around 15:30(local time) on Thursday, Ibrahim Gökçek’s relatives, his lawyers, and comrades from Grup Yorum took his body from the hospital morgue and headed to the Alevite Prayer House in Istanbul’s Gazi neighborhood, where a mourning ceremony for Gökçek was held.
Despite the attempts of the fascist police to prevent the mass gathering, dozens of people gathered in the courtyard of the prayer house and the area around it.
The coffin with Ibrahim Gökçek’s body arrived in the Gazi neighborhood at around 16:30(local time) where he was greeted with chants of slogans such as: “Heroes do not die, the people can not be defeated!”, “Ibrahim Gökçek is immortal!”, “The anger of the mothers will drown the murderers!”,” Mustafa Koçak is immortal!”,” Helin Bölek is immortal!”
The members of Grup Yorum, Ibrahim’s comrades, artists, and intellectuals supporting the band’s struggle, carried the coffin to the prayer house. The memorial ceremony was attended by both residents of the neighborhood and people from other parts of Istanbul. The ceremony was also attended by the family of Mustafa Koçak, who died after a 297-day hunger strike till death demanding a fair trial, as well as Aygul Bilgi, the mother of Helin Bölek, Grup Yorumis vocalist who died on April 3, after 288 days of hunger strike till death.m with the same demands that Ibrahim Gökçek fought for.
After Ibrahim Gökçek’s coffin was taken to the house of prayer, his relatives and comrades prepared his body for the memorial ceremony. The ceremony itself began around 19:30(local time). Gökçek’s body was wrapped in red pieces of cloth, after which the coffin was laid out for worship to all who wished to pay tribute to him for last time, before his burial.
During the memorial ceremony, a short speech was delivered on behalf of Grup Yorum:
“When millions of people fill the squares again, Helin, Mustafa, and Ibrahim will be there with us. Ibrahim, like Helin Bölek, is now a permanent member of Grup Yorum.”
The ceremony continued with the performance of the songs: Bize Ölüm Yok (There is no death for us), Kahramanlar Ölmez (Heroes do not die) and Uğurlama (Farewell), which is also Ibrahim Gökçek’s favorite song. A crowd in a common choir sang these songs gathered around the musician’s coffin.
The memorial ceremony took place despite the police blockade in Gazi neighborhood, with dozens of riot police and political police agents deployed on the perimeter of the prayer house. This forced Ibrahim Gökçek’s comrades, his relatives, and locals to stay on duty all night in the courtyard of the prayer house to prevent any attempts by the police to abduct the body of the fallen revolutionary.
Despite attacks by police and fascist gangs, Ibrahim Gökçek was buried in his hometown – Kayseri
Ibrahim Gokcek was buried after resistance against attacks by police and fascist gangs which lasted for 48-hours. His funeral was accompanied by attacks that began in the first moments after he died at the hospital on May 7.
Gökçek’s funeral took place during these 48 hours of attacks and resistance against them.
In recent days, the representatives of the fascist government in Turkey and all its media began to repeat the mantra that the situation in the country is normalizing, that the coronavirus pandemic has been defeated, that Turkey is an example for the whole world. Despite all these assurances from the heralds of power, the fascist police attacked the funeral of Ibrahim Gökçek, not under any other pretext, but on the pretext that measures were being taken to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The intensive police attacks on the prayer house in Istanbul’s Gazi district, which began at around 10:00(local time), on May 8, lasted nearly 4 hours.
For hours, dozens of riot police, political police agents armed with state-of-the-art weapons, helmets, and bulletproof vests, accompanied by water cannons and armored vehicles, attacked people in the prayer house and those who wanted to take part in the funeral of the revolutionary musician. Their forces were not enough, and for that, SWAT teams of the Turkish police were deployed to the area. They were also armed to the teeth, with masks and bulletproof vests prepared for war, and all these attacks for what – to abduct the lifeless body of Ibrahim Gökçek, who had melted to – 30 kilograms. His body melted cell by cell, but it was very heavy for the fascist government because this body and the effect caused by his death were huge and strong enough to fall like a bomb in the middle of the country’s agenda.
For several years, the Gazi neighborhood had not become an arena of attacks and resistance on this scale. Dozens of people on the streets of the neighborhood, Ibrahim’s comrades and family inside the prayer house, resisted against the attacks of the police for hours.
According to the latest available information about 30 people were detained during the attacks, including Ibrahim Gökçek’s lawyers and members of the Grup Yorum. And at the moment some of them are in the custody of the political police, and for now it is not clear when they will be released.
After the intensive attacks of the police and the resistance behind the barricades of the defenders of the prayer house, the SWAT teams of the fascist government managed to kidnap Ibrahim’s body. Yes, you read that right, special police forces were used to abduct the coffin with the lifeless body of a revolutionary. They did so by breaking down the doors of the prayer house, destroying a part of the walls of the morgue where the coffin with Ibrahim Gökçek’s body was located. In this latest attack, fascist police tried to arrest Ibrahim’s father, but after resistance from his comrades, the police were forced to withdraw.
After the fascist executioners abducted his body and headed for the city of Kayseri, they tried to kidnap him through various pitiful and desperate maneuvers and bury him in an unknown place, away from his relatives and comrades.
But they failed.
Members of Grup Yorum, Ibrahim’s family, his comrades, his relatives, stood up for his body despite the police blockade. Despite the attacks of the fascist gangs and the threats of the police, they did not leave him in the hands of the murderers and executioners.
Ibrahim Gökçek, whose body was abducted by police despite all the attacks, was buried by his relatives and comrades in the city of Kayseri, central Turkey. His funeral was also attended by his wife Sultan Gökçek, who was brought from Silivri Prison near Istanbul to Kayseri.
How can you be afraid of a dead man? They are afraid so much, that you can’t even imagine!
The attacks, as we have already written, began in Istanbul. The fact that hundreds of people gathered at the memorial ceremony in prayer house in Gazi neighborhood on May 7 frightened the fascist AKP’s government. It was no secret that the procession, which was planned to take place on the next day – May 8, would be even more massive. It was after this event that the fascist AKP’s government issued an order to attack the funeral. The attack on the prayer house in Gazi district, the large number of detainees, and the abduction of Ibrahim Gökçek’s body were all aimed at preventing a mass memorial procession.
For this reason, very few people were able to attend Ibrahim’s funeral. Nevertheless, he was sent off for the last time with songs, marches, slogans, and red carnations.
One of his comrades completely covered his grave with carnations.
While this was happening, the fascist gangsters attempted to make a provocation. The people who attended to the funeral greeted this provocation by chanting the slogan “Ibrahim Gökçek is Immortal!”
Yorum musician Bahar Kurt, who also went on a hunger strike with Ibrahim and Helin and ended his action at the end of January, gave a speech after he was buried. She said the following:
“Our brother Ibrahim lived for his people. He created for his people.
He is not only our pride but also the pride of all the peoples of Turkey and the world. For 323 days, he melted cell by cell, resisting cell by cell he paid a price for our songs. He paid a price so that he could sing our songs, and so that the voice of the people could be heard.
Our Ibrahim was killed so that he would not become a hope for the people so that the voice of the people would be silenced. Because Grup Yorum is the voice of the people. For 15 years he played his bass guitar with the belt with a red star on it. He was an artist loved by millions of people.
That’s why they wanted to silence Grup Yorum. He gave his life for our songs. From Istanbul to here, they have mobilized all their policemen, gendarmes, soldiers. For a body weighing 30 kilograms. You are even afraid of his 30-kilogram body.”
Yes, they had been so scared of a dead man.
Because they knew that this dead man was immortal. Because they knew that this dead man was able to raise all people in this country.
Could they be so afraid of the songs? Yes, they could.
Singing songs at the grave of Ibrahim Gökçek was the last stage of this battle. Ibrahim Gökçek, would not have been sent without songs being sung at his grave.
A few people under the total blockade of the police, gendarmerie, and fascist gangs, nevertheless sang their songs again.
“The wind of struggle burns like fire,” a voice began to sing.
Then the others joined in that voice: “There is no death for us.”
Not ten people, but thousands, millions sang this song.
Under 48 hours of blockades and attacks, Ibrahim Gokcek’s comrades, relatives, and family did not leave him in the hands of the killers. This song will continue to resound over Ibrahim’s grave.
Protests in front of the diplomatic missions of Turkey, in Europe after the death of Ibrahim
Members of the People’s Front in Europe held a series of protests in front of the diplomatic missions of fascist Turkey, as well as in key places in the big cities of many countries of the old continent.
Protests were held in the capital of Greece – Athens, banners, and graffiti in memory of Ibrahim Gökçek and Helin Bölek were hung at key places in the city. Dozens gathered in Thessaloniki and closed the boulevard to the Turkish consulate in the city.
Protest actions against the attacks of the fascist government in Turkey were carried out in the German cities of Berlin, Bremen, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Karlsruhe, Mannheim, Ulm, Frankfurt, and Stuttgart.
Protests also took place in Vienna, the capital of Austria, Paris, the town of Melun, 45 km southeast of Paris, in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands, in the capital of Belgium – Brussels.
The protest action of members of the People’s Front in front of the Turkish embassy in the capital of Britain – London, was blocked by the police. British armed police have threatened to detain members of the movement if they hold a protest. However, they carried out the action by hanging a banner with the text: “The enemies of folk songs will give an account! Ibrahim Gökçek is immortal!”, They delivered a short speech and chanted slogans, after which they withdrew from the area of the action.
In Zurich, Switzerland, police attacked members of the People’s Front protesting in front of the Turkish consulate in the city. A total of 6 people were briefly detained by Swiss police, they were chased on the streets around the consulate by police. One of them was fined on the pretext of violating the measures taken in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. He and the other members of the movement were released in the evening. This is another attack by the Swiss police against the revolutionaries from Turkey after members of the People’s Front were attacked during the May 1 demonstrations in Zurich and detained for several hours by the police.
In addition to the protests, commemorative events were organized in memory of Ibrahim Gökçek, some were held indoors, others in the open, and some of these events took place online on social media. Also, another crime of the fascist government in Turkey was announced and exposed to the masses through posters and banners hung in key places in major European cities.
Photo gallery with images from Ibrahim Gokcek’s funeral and the resistance against attacks of the police and fascist gangs.