Kurdish MP Sebahat Tuncel Sentenced To 8 Years In Turkish Prison On PKK Affiliation Charges
Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Istanbul deputy Sebahat Tuncel has been sentenced to eight years and nine months in prison for being a member of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Turkish media reported Tuesday.
Tuncel was detained and released in 2007 when she was elected as a deputy while the court case was still proceeding.
If the Supreme Court of Appeals approves the sentence, Tuncel will be stripped of her deputyship.
Tuncel has also been banned from leaving the country.
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country. More than 40,000 people have since been killed.
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
The PKK wants constitutional recognition for the Kurds, regional self-governance and Kurdish-language education in schools.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.
The PKK is considered ass 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.