Grup Yorum's concert in İzmir on Aug. 14.
Concert tickets and posters were enough to accuse a group of activists in the Black Sea region of membership in a terrorist group and distributing terrorist propaganda.
Nine members of the Black Sea Freedoms Association began to organize concerts by the band “Grup Yorum” in the coastal towns of Samsun and Rize last May, for which they were granted approval from the local governor’s offices. Samsun police initiated a criminal inquiry into the organizers in early April and detained the individuals just before the concerts were to take place.
Five of them were arrested by the police while the other four were released pending trial, where they would stand for charges of being members of the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front, or DHKP-C, and distributing the group’s propaganda.
In its indictment the prosecutor’s office presented the posters and tickets prepared for the Grup Yorum concerts as evidence, arguing that the band was linked to the DHKP-C, even though Grup Yorum’s albums are sold freely in most music stores around the country.
The prosecutor’s office also cited two books found when searching the homes of the accused as illegal because the Istanbul State Security Court had ordered their seizure in 1988 and 1987. The books, “Independence, Democracy, Socialism Struggle, Youth – 2” and “Rebellion, Death and Life: The heroes of the Second Revolutionary Generation,” were first published in 1999 and 1997 respectively.
Asking how a court had ordered the seizure of books published almost a decade later, the lawyer for the accused, Evrim Deniz Karatana, said he believed that the seizure order involved other books, arguing, “The prosecutor’s office created evidence to support its case.”
In the first session of the trial, which was held in Ankara on Aug. 28, the accused faced the court and argued that they were not guilty of the crimes they were charged with.
The other defense lawyer, Özgür Yılmaz, said he believed the accused were being targeted as part of a campaign against Grup Yorum itself.