A member of a popular folk music group that is banned in Turkey has died on the 288th day of a hunger strike protesting the government’s treatment of the band, The Associated Press reported, citing a post on the group’s Twitter account.
Group Yorum said Helin Bolek died Friday at a home in Istanbul where she had been staging the hunger strike to force the government to reverse its treatment of the band and its members.
Group Yorum, known for its protest songs, is a folk collective with rotating band members. It has been banned from performing since 2016, and some band members have been jailed.
The government accuses Group Yorum of links to the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP/C). The militant group is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Bolek and fellow band member Ibrahim Gokcek embarked on the hunger strike to press the government to lift the ban and free band members.
Turkey’s Sözcü newspaper said the two were forcibly hospitalized on March 11 but discharged a week later after they refused treatment.
Hunger strikers in Turkey traditionally refuse food but consume liquids that prolong their protests.