Turkish police on Wednesday detained six members of folk music band Grup Yorum as they were rehearsing for a concert in İstanbul’s Beykoz district, the Duvar English news website reported.
The People’s Law Office said in a statement that the police also simultaneously raided the İdil Culture Center located in the city’s Okmeydanı neighborhood, which is run by a few of the group members and where the band often meets.
The Interior Ministry had recently denied the group’s application to give a concert at the city’s Yenikapı Arena.
Founded in 1985 in reaction to the 1980 military coup and subsequent military policies, Grup Yorum is known for its leftist stance and songs about political issues in Turkey.
The group has always been vocal about human rights violations and freedoms in the country, prompting authorities to accuse them of being “members of terrorist groups.”
Band member Helin Bölek died on April 3 after 288 days on a hunger strike, while İbrahim Gökçek died on May 7, only two days after ending a 323-day hunger strike.
The musicians demanded that the bans on their band be lifted and that they be allowed to perform again, that their cultural center not be raided anymore and that their band members’ names be cleared of terror charges.