Turkish prosecutor wants Kurdish politicians jailed for PKK support

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ISTANBUL, AUGUST 12, 2016 – A Turkish prosecutor is seeking a five-year prison sentence for two leaders of Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish political party who spread “terrorist group propaganda” three years ago, the Dogan news agency said on Friday.The prosecutor filed an indictment accusing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Chief Selahattin Demirtas and fellow party member Sirri Onder of making statement in favour of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2013, according to the report.

At the time, the Turkish government and the PKK had publicly embarked on a peace process and agreed on a ceasefire. The HDP advocated for a peace deal and spoke in favour of the process.

The government ceasefire with the PKK collapsed last July.

Talks with the banned party had stalled months earlier, after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected a plan that would have paved the way toward a settlement.

Rising tensions between the HDP and Erdogan peaked after the party entered parliament for the first time ever in elections last year.

The president has since regularly lambasted the pro-Kurdish party and successfully had parliament vote to lift immunity for 54 of the party’s 59 lawmakers, clearing the way for prosecutions.

The PKK and the state have been locked in conflict for over a year, leading hundreds of deaths on each side and hundreds more civilian fatalities.

The HDP has condemned PKK attacks but is also sharply critical of the government’s heavy handed crackdowns.

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