Turkey

Leader, MP of Turkey's HDP facing 5-year jail term

Selahattin Demirtas and deputy Sirri Sureyya Onder accused of promoting terrorist propaganda in 2013 rally speech

12.08.2016
Leader, MP of Turkey's HDP facing 5-year jail term

By Melike Gallenkus and Yunus Ege

ISTANBUL

A prosecutor in Istanbul has prepared an indictment seeking a jail term of up to five years for the co-leader of Turkey’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

Selahattin Demirtas and Sirri Sureyya Onder, an HDP lawmaker, are accused of promoting the “propaganda of a terrorist organization”, namely the PKK, in the document drawn up by the Bakirkoy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and seen by Anadolu Agency on Friday.

Immunity from prosecution was lifted for around a quarter of parliamentary deputies in May.

Demirtas and Onder, who represents Ankara, are accused of supporting the PKK and its imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan in comments made at a rally in Zeytinburnu, Istanbul, in March 2013. At the time the government was involved in trying to resolve the Kurdish conflict through a “solution process” with the PKK leadership.

Acting prosecutor Kadir Yilmaz demanded a prison term of between one and five years in the indictment, which is currently pending at Bakirkoy 2nd High Criminal Court.

“The suspects are deputies of a political party represented at Grand National Assembly of Turkey... The state has right to expect... political figures to keep away from expressions that praise and legitimate terrorist activities,” the indictment said.

The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015, since when more than 600 security personnel have been martyred and more than 7,000 PKK terrorists killed.

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