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Turkish music band members seek political asylum in France

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Two members of Grup Yorum, a Turkish music band targeted by the Turkish government, on Saturday said they had requested political asylum in France, Euronews reported.

Selma and İnan Altın announced their decision during a visit to the grave of Yılmaz Güney, a famous Turkish film director and actor who died in 1984 when he was in exile in France, in Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

“We have never experienced the things that we have had in last two years. Grup Yorum has been facing a siege and liquidation operation,” said Selma Altın, a soloist of the band.

The couple is on the grey list of Turkey’s most wanted terrorists with an award of around $60,000 on accusation of membership in the far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C).

Ten members of the 33-year-old band are currently in prison in Turkey. Six others, including the Altın couple, have been at large. One member of the band was recently released from prison.

“Our concerts have been banned especially since 2016. The band could not even organize a concert,” said İnan Altın, the drummer of the band, adding that their cultural center has been raided by police who also destroyed musical instruments.

The Altın couple were released from prison in 2017 after 106 days of pre-trial detention.

“Not only Grup Yorum, but also all artists have been exposed to AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] fascism,” added Selma Altın.

The couple also said a movie project was also stopped due to a raid on their film set in Turkey and they would try to complete the project in France as Yılmaz Güney did in the past.

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