NewsTurkeyTurkey: Two members of the pro-Kurdish HDP charged

    Turkey: Two members of the pro-Kurdish HDP charged

    Turkish authorities have charged two members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Tuesday with disseminating terrorist propaganda and membership of a terrorist group, referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

    The defendants are Zeyat Ceylan, chairman of the party in Diyarbakir province, and Hula Alokmen Uyanik, a member of the party’s executive. Both have appeared by videoconference from prison, where they have been accompanied by their lawyers.

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    Judicial sources quoted by the Turkish state news agency, Anadolu, have indicated that both have rejected the charges and have asked for their release pending trial, which has been granted. If convicted, they face up to 30 years in prison.

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    Ceylan and Uyanik were arrested on October 30, 2020 following an operation against several HDP headquarters in the Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakir. During the operation, material with effigies of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan were seized.

    On March 17, the Turkish Public Prosecutor’s Office demanded the dissolution of the HDP, the third largest party in the Turkish Parliament, because of its alleged links to the PKK. Hours earlier, the Turkish Parliament had expelled HDP deputy Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu from his seat for his alleged ties to terrorist groups.

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    Gergerlioglu is known for his human rights work and is a strong critic of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government. However, ministers such as Suleyman Soylu, Interior Minister, have labeled the politician a “terrorist”.

    Also, a Turkish court on Monday sentenced former HDP co-chairman Selehattin Demirtas to three and a half years in jail for “insulting” Erdogan. Demirtas has been imprisoned since November 2016 for allegedly committing terrorism-related crimes.

    Turkish authorities have in recent months dismissed dozens of HDP mayors on “terrorism” charges and replaced them with state officials as part of a crackdown on local councils controlled by this opposition party.

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    Likewise, the Turkish army has intensified its operations against the PKK both in the country and in northern Iraq — where the formation has numerous bases — since the ceasefire between the government and the armed group was broken in July 2015.

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    Alex Dawit
    Alex Dawit
    Alex Dawit is Journalist of the Awutar. He had completed his graduation in Journalism and Communication, Pakistan. He is passionate about News, Blogging & Research Writing. You can contact him via: [email protected]


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