A rally was held in front of the dom church in Vienna’s Stephansplatz on Friday, July 15 at 16:00 to support Sibel Balaç and Gökhan Yıldırım in their Death Fast resistance for Justice.
In the opening speech of the meeting, the Freedom Initiative for Political Prisoners talked about the reasons and developments of the resistance. It was explained that both Sibel and Gökhan’s voices should be heard and that the Austrian state should not be a party to the crimes against the prisoners in Turkey.
Then the artists who attended the rally one after the other took the stage and expressed their solidarity with their beautiful songs. The artist named Mayas touched the hearts of both the people who came to the rally and the Arab tourists with Palestinian folk songs. Venezuelan musician Jairo Morales, on the other hand, sang the revolutionary and folk songs of Latin America for Sibel and Gökhan, and also called for Freedom for Grup Yorum. Austrian musicians named Erwin & Klaus took place with their songs criticizing the unjust order, accompanied by guitar and accordion.
Finally, the Grup Yorum song Güleycan was performed together with Venezuelan artist Jairo Morales, and the participants of the rally sung together in chorus, “Gel ki Şafaklar Tutuşsun”.
From time to time, solidarity messages were read on the stage and the purpose of the action was explained. A representative from the Austrian anti-fascist Red Flag magazine stated in his speech that Sibel and Gökhan represent millions in the struggle against imperialism and fascism, and stated that their demands should be accepted immediately. While referring to the policy of the Turkish government towards the working people and the prisoners, he also criticized the cooperation of the Austrian state with Turkey.
Then, the support message sent by the deputy Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic was also read.
At the end of the rally, a live telephone connection was established with Gökhan Yıldırım’s brother, Erkan Yıldırım. Yıldırım started his speech by saying that Gökhan was aware of the action taken here and conveyed his heartfelt greetings to everyone. Expressing that his health situation has deteriorated considerably, he explained that he has bruises on his feet and hands, severe bone pains, and that he has lost 20 kilograms and dropped to 44 kilograms.
He stated that Gökhan, who was arrested for a single unproven false slander and sentenced to 46 years in prison, was given this sentence because he was fighting against drug trafficking and corruption and for exposing this policy.
It was reported that while none of the drug gangs was punished because the drug trade is largely in the hands of the state, revolutionaries like Gökhan who struggled against this policy were sentenced to prison sentences for decades. Finally, he emphasized that for Gökhan and Sibel to live, ww need to take action as soon as possible, any action, big or small, is important, and this can be done by writing a letter to the Ministry of Justice or by calling the prison where they are staying and saying that their demands must be met.
Erkan Yıldırım Saluted and thanked everyone who participated in the action. During his speech, the slogans “Sibel Balaç -Gökhan Yıldırım are Our Honor” and “Long live our Death Fast Resistance” were chanted.
Afterwards, a banner with pictures and demands of Sibel and Gökhan was hung behind the rally vehicle, and a march was made from Stephansplatz to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Along the way, the march songs of Grup Yorum and international songs were played. Among the short speeches describing Sibel and Gökhan, the slogans “Sibel Balaç-Gökhan Yıldırım Are Our Honor”, “Long Live International Solidarity”, “Freedom to All Political Prisoners” were chanted.
A written statement to be delivered to Minister Alexander Schallenberg was read in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and then the participating artists sang a few more songs.
At the end of the action, a live telephone connection was established with Seda Şaraldı, the lawyer of the death fast resisters.
In her speech, she expressed that fair trials have already been abolished in Turkey since long and that dozens of people like Sibel and Gökhan are being sentenced to decades in prison for the slanders of a single person and digital materials that are not existent in the file.
She said that when it comes to revolutionaries and socialists, the courts approve the sentences without any evidence.
In addition, she reminded her colleague Ebru Timtik, who lost her life in 2020 simply because she wanted a fair trial, as well as Grup Yorum members Helin Bölek and İbrahim Gökçek and political prisoner Mustafa Koçak.
Şaraldı called for immediate ownership of Sibel Balaç and Gökhan Yıldırım, who apart from the demand for a fair trial are fighting for the release of thousands of sick prisoners in Turkey, in particularly Ali Osman Köse. She thanked those who participated in the action on behalf of Sibel and Gökhan.
In the morning of the rally, Friday, July 15, the Austrian Press Agency (APA) announced the march for Sibel Balaç and Gökhan Yıldırım by publishing the statement made by the Green Party deputy, Human Rights and Foreign Relations spokesperson Ewa Ernst-Dziedzic.
During the rally, leaflets were distributed describing the resistance, their demands for both the Turkish and Austrian state, and the e-mail addresses of the Ministry of Justice, the Turkish Embassy and the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to write letters.
T-shirts written in German and English with pictures of Sibel and Gökhan were also worn for the action, which was attended by approximately 50 people.
The action ended at 19.30 in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Nothing Happens Alone, But Together We Can Achieve Anything!
Sibel Balaç and Gökhan Yıldırım are Our Honor!
We Will Not Allow Them to Kill the Sick Prisoners!
Press release and the appeal to the foreign ministry you can read attached..