Turkish police attack the funeral of the freedom fighter musician Helin Bölek

The Group Yorum supporters, the group where she sang, the progressives, the family and Alevi believers took Helin from the “Resistance House” after her death to bring her to the cemevi at Okmeydanı. Cemevis are the centers of worship and congregation for the Alevis. However, the hearse was blocked by the police before reaching the cemevi. In the argument between the funeral procession attendees and the police, many supporters including the hearse driver were beaten, detained and taken away by the police.

Turkish police attack the funeral of the freedom fighter musician Helin Bölek

Helin Bölek, the musician and freedom fighter of Group Yorum lost her life after 288 days of hunger strike yesterday, April 3rd, 2020.

The traditional funeral procession was attacked by the Turkish police and many participants detained. Including the hearse driver.

Bölek was an Alevi, a more progressive sect of the Muslim religion. The family, as expected and is tradition, demanded to have a proper funeral for their daughter who gave her life for justice, freedom, equality and brother and sisterhood of all the peoples of the world. However, the Turkish government is Sunni and is hostile to Alevis and frowns on their beliefs and traditions. Many Alevi people receive death threats and face attacks every day and without the Turkish government’s protection. Bölek’s leftist views of solidarity among peoples of the world also did not go well with the Turkish government’s ideology that demonizes all others who are not Turkish or Sunni Islam. The traditional requirement of the funeral was banned by the government.

The Group Yorum supporters, the group where she sang, the progressives, the family and Alevi believers took Helin from the “Resistance House” after her death to bring her to the cemevi at Okmeydanı. Cemevis are the centers of worship and congregation for the Alevis. However, the hearse was blocked by the police before reaching the cemevi.

In the argument between the funeral procession attendees and the police, many supporters including the hearse driver were beaten, detained and taken away by the police.

The police tried preventing the funeral to be taken to the cemevi as the tradition required, instead, the police wanted to rush the body to the graveyard and bury it with as little publicity as possible.

The streets leading to Okmeydanı where the Music and Cultural Center of Group Yorum, Idil Cultural Center, was also blocked by the Turkish police. The road blocks were erected from the very early hours of the day. However, hundreds of supporters were able to pass the road blocks, reached the cemevi and started a rally against the police barrage and the efforts to prevent a proper funeral.

After the rally, the crowd started marching towards the graveyard to show their respect and for the funeral. The police again confronted the group and prevented their reaching the graveyard. The supporters of the musician then sat on the road and the sidewalk to protest the disrespect the Turkish government was showing.

While the crowd and the protesters were being kept at bay, the police forced the body to be transported directly to the burial site in the graveyard.

At the graveyard, the police only allowed the family of the deceased and her attorney to be present for the burial.

In Alevi tradition as in Islam, the body is washed before burial which is usually done in a facility in the graveyard. The police, as another show of disrespect, did not allow Helin’s body to be washed and after arguments with the family the police forced a quick burial without the required washing.

Sendika.org news. (M.B.)

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