Kurdistan Kurdish politicians in Turkey face centuries in prison, life sentences

Kurdish politicians in Turkey face centuries in prison, life sentences
Pro-Kurdish politicians of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Sirri Sureyya Onder (C), Pervin Buldan (L), and Idris Baluken attend a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, June 12, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Kurdistan24) – Prosecutors in Turkey recently demanded hundreds of years of imprisonment and aggravated life sentences for Kurdish lawmakers and mayors with varying charges related to “terrorism,” as prescribed under the Turkish law.

A prosecutor in the city of Bingol filed a suit on Tuesday against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP and head of its parliamentary group Idris Baluken.

The suit included a demand of an aggravated life sentence for Baluken and 15 years in prison based on four different accusations, reported the Kurdistan24 Diyarbakir bureau.

“Disruption of the unity of the state and territorial integrity of the country, membership in a terror group, disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization, and participation in illegal assemblies and walks” were the charges brought against the MP who represents his home province of Bingol.

Turkish anti-terror police units conducting house raids arrested Baluken alongside a dozen HDP lawmakers including the party’s two Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag on Nov. 4.

Baluken was a member of a negotiations team between the jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan and the Turkish Government during 2013-2015 peace talks.

In the Van Province on the border with Iranian Kurdistan, a public prosecutor accused the HDP MP Lezgin Botan with similar charges and appealed a local court to sentence him to 11 to 40 years in prison.

Botan is one of four lawmakers from Van who prosecutors have taken action against, including Tugba Hezer Ozturk and Adem Geveri for whom life sentences were demanded last week.

The imprisoned HDP Co-chair Yuksekdag also represents Van at the Turkish Parliament.

Yuksekdag, held in a Kocaeli prison in western Turkey for more than three weeks now, was on Wednesday denied a visit with a delegation of lawmakers from her party.


Meanwhile, in Diyarbakir, a penal court took an indictment against the city’s Provincial Co-Mayor Gultan Kisanak into consideration.

The public prosecutor who authored the indictment charged Kisanak with “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization” at least 41 times and demanded 230 years of imprisonment for her.

The charges were related to speeches she made during months-long, round-the-clock curfews on several Kurdish cities imposed on numerous occasions since mid-2015.

Elected Co-mayor of Diyarbakir Kisanak and Firat Anli were put in prison in late October after their arrest.

Their municipality has since been seized by Turkey’s Interior Ministry which appointed a government trustee to act as mayor.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany