Folk singer Joan Baez supports arrested members of Turkey’s Grup Yorum
REUTERS photoWorld renowned folk singer Joan Baez has issued a statement expressing solidarity with members of the Turkish protest music group Grup Yorum, arrested on charges of terrorism, obstructing and insulting police.
“The real reason behind your arrest is that your music and work touches people, mobilizes them and encourages them, and the fact you are righteous in your thoughts. You should continue to be brave. I will also tell your story while I am singing. I thank you for your sacrifices,” Baez stated on Nov. 23.
All members of Grup Yorum - Ali Aracı, İnan Altın, Selma Altın, Sultan Gökçek, Fırat Kıl, Dilan Poyraz and Helin Bölek - were detained at the İdil Cultural Center in Istanbul on Nov. 18.
Abdullah Özgün, an employee at the center, was also among the detainees before he was released.
Baez had last year taken the stage and performed a short song in a concert organized for Grup’s Yorum’s 30th anniversary, during which the group’s members gave her a guitar that was damaged during a police raid.
“I am here for solidarity with Grup Yorum against the bans,” Baez called out to the audience during the June 2015 performance.
This year, she canceled a concert in İzmir scheduled on Aug. 12 after the bloody military coup attempt of July 15, saying the situation presented “an immense and unpredictable danger.”
Baez later apologized for the statement, which many criticized as exaggerated.
“In seeing the response to parts of my letter cancelling my concerts in Turkey, I’d like to say to anyone who may have felt hurt, confused, insulted, or angry at my words, I am deeply sorry,” she said.