Police raids in Istanbul: Members of Grup Yorum and TAYAD were detained

During a police operation conducted yesterday in two districts of Istanbul, members of the revolutionary leftist music band Grup Yorum and members of TAYAD – the Association for Solidarity of the Families of Political Prisoners – were detained by the agents of the political police.

Yesterday at noon, agents of the political police and SWAT teams once again raided the Ayçe Idil Erkmen cultural center, located in Istanbul’s Okmeydani neighborhood (European / western part of the city), where the revolutionary leftist music band Grup Yorum develops its activities.

The news of the police attack was announced by the musicians in their profile on Twitter. The perimeter around the building was blocked by police with armored vehicles, and police officers from the SWAT teams and the riot police squads were deployed to the area.

A total of five people were detained during the raid of the cultural center, including members of Grup Yorum – Betül Varan and Sultan Gökçek. Varan and Gökçek were released only about ten days ago. The two women were imprisoned in December 2019, after another assault of the political police against Ayçe Idil Erkmen cultural center was carried out.

They spent 10 months in prison, during which time their comrades, members of Grup Yorum, Helin Bölek and Ibrahim Gökçek, went on a Death Fast(Hunger Strike till Death) demanding an end to the crackdown on the band and the lifting of the concert ban imposed on the revolutionary musicians.

Again during this period, Sultan Gökçek lost her comrade and husband, Ibrahim Gökçek, and was allowed to send him for the last time surrounded by a cordon of gendarmes and police, her gaze as she laid flowers at her husband’s grave have been sealed in the minds of the progressive society, as an unspoken expression of her feelings at that moment.

As is usually the case with the raids against Ayçe Idil Erkmen Cultural Center, the police left behind all sorts of material damage and destruction, which is the clearest evidence of their hatred against the people and the revolutionaries, represented by Grup Yorum. The five people detained during the police raid yesterday were taken to the headquarters of the political police in Istanbul, and there is no exact information when the detainees will be brought to the court.

The other address that has been raided yesterday by agents of the political police and SWAT teams, was the house of Mehmet Guvel, located in Istanbul’s Çayan neighborhood (the European / western part of the city). Mehmed Güvel is a member of TAYAD – the Association for Solidarity of the Families of Political Prisoners, which was established in the years after the fascist military coup of September 12, 1980, by relatives of the revolutionaries imprisoned at the time. Güvel is also a veteran of the 1996 Death Fast Resistance in Turkish prisons against repressions and government plans to transfer political prisoners into isolation prisons.

Along with Mehmed Guvel, Yılmaz Viraner, known as a revolutionary journalist, part of the team of the weekly Marxist-Leninist magazine Yüryüş(March), published from 2005 until 2019, as well as Feridun Osmanagaoglu, who is also a member of TAYAD were detained. Feridun Osmanagaoglu is the brother of the revolutionary Osman Osmanagaoglu, who died during the Great Death Hunger Strike of 2000-2007 against the isolation and policies of the imperialists and the oligarchy in Turkey aiming to liquidate the revolutionary movement in the country.

As in the assault on the Ayçe Idil Erkmen Cultural Center, the police left behind material damage and desecrated portraits and drawings of fallen revolutionaries. Detainees Mehmed Guvel and Yılmaz Viraner were taken to Istanbul’s political police headquarters, and Feridun Osmanagaoglu was taken to the Alibeyköy police station on the pretext that there is an arrest warrant issued in connection with another case.

Yesterday evening, TAYAD announced on its official Twitter account that Mehmed Güvel and Yılmaz Viraner had been released by the political police. This morning, the lawyers from People’s Law Office announced that Feridun Osmanagaoglu had been released from the Alibeykoy police station.

Yesterday’s police raids once again show the attempts of the fascist oligarchy in Turkey and its political representative in power – the ruling AKP to crush the revolutionaries in the country, who still managed to continue their existence in the conditions of severe repressions in the last 5 years.


Raid against Ayçe Idil Erkmen cultural center












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