Pro-Kurdish Politician To Stay In Turkish Jail Despite Dementia Claims

A Turkish court has ordered the continued detention of a pro-Kurdish Turkish politician despite reports that she has dementia.
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Aysel Tugluk, now 57, was the deputy co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) before her arrest in 2016 (Photo: Medya Tava)
Aysel Tugluk, now 57, was the deputy co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) before her arrest in 2016 (Photo: Medya Tava)

A Turkish court has ordered the continued detention of a pro-Kurdish Turkish politician despite reports that she has dementia, her lawyer said on Saturday.

Aysel Tugluk, now 57, was the deputy co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) before her arrest in 2016.

She was sentenced in 2018 to 10 years in prison for "belonging to a terrorist organisation".

Although it was decided to release her as part of another case, an Ankara court on Friday ruled she should stay in prison over the 2018 conviction despite not being "aware of what is happening around her", her lawyer Serdar Celebi told AFP.

 "The judges saw with their own eyes that Ms Tugluk did not understand the questions put to her and was not able to present a defence," he said.

"But they refused to consider the reports we submitted and transfer her to a hospital."

Tugluk was arrested for her activities with the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an organisation considered by the Turkish authorities to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is classified as a "terrorist" organisation by Ankara and its Western allies.