Turkish court jails Kurdish MP to 18 months on pro-PKK propaganda
Turkish court sentenced a pro-Kurdish member of parliament to 18 months in jail on charges she spread propaganda on behalf of Kurdish separatists.
Turkish court sentenced a pro-Kurdish member of parliament on Thursday to 18 months in jail on charges she spread propaganda on behalf of Kurdish separatists.
Aysel Tugluk, a senior member of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), was convicted for saying at a rally in 2006 that members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were "heroes to some" and refusing to call them terrorists, the court said.
Judges in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir ruled that Tugluk had violated anti-terrorism laws, the court said.
The DTP is the first pro-Kurdish group to join the 550-seat Turkish parliament in more than a decade. It calls for a negotiated settlement of Turkey's 25-year conflict with the PKK, and faces a possible ban on charges it has links with militants.
Turkey says that the PKK was responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, mainly Kurds, in the conflict in the largely Kurdish southeast.
The United States and European Union have labelled the PKK a terrorist organisation.
Tugluk, who has immunity as long as she is a member of parliament, faces at least a half-dozen other charges for separate comments.
Her lawyer Fethi Gumus said she would appeal the conviction. If she loses the appeal, parliament could strip her of immunity and she would serve the prison sentence, he added.
Turkey's Kurdish population numbers around 12 million and the country's total population is 71 million. Most live in areas bordering communities of Kurds in Iraq, Iran and Syria.
Reuters Last Mod: 05 Şubat 2009, 16:02