Turkey sentences pro-Kurdish mayor Tuncer Bakirhan to one year in jail

October 28, 2016 9:00 pm

The file photo shows Tuncer Bakirhan, the pro-Kurdish mayor of ’s Siirt.

The mayor of the city of Siirt in southeastern Turkey has been sentenced to one year in prison for “disseminating terrorist propaganda.”
Tuncer Bakirhan was tried in absentia on Friday, according to Anadolu agency.
Bakirhan is a member of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, also known as the HDP, which the government accuses of being the political wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The party denies the accusation.
The sentencing comes three days after authorities detained Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli, the popular co-mayors of Diyarbakir, a Kurdish-majority city in southeastern Turkey, as part of what was called a terrorism investigation.
Diyarbakir’s prosecutor said Anli and Kisanak, who was a member of parliament before becoming the city’s first female mayor in 2014, had given speeches sympathetic to the PKK.
Three city officials in Diyarbakir were also detained on Thursday after hanging a banner outside the city hall in support of Kisanak and Anli, municipal officials said.
The banner had pictures of the two politicians and read, “Respect the will of the people, free our mayors.” It was later removed by police.

The file photo taken on April 10, 2015, shows Gultan Kisanak (L) and Firat Anli, the co-mayors of Diyarbakir, southeastern Turkey. (Photo by AFP)

A PKK leader has urged Kurds to “rise up” in solidarity with the mayors, according to Firat News Agency. Cemil Bayik has said the importance of Diyarbakir, a city of 1.7 million people, meant that actions against its elected officials were attacks on all Kurds.
In a related development, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement released on Friday that it was “very concerned” about the detention of Kisanak and Anli, which has prompted protests by Kurds in Diyarbakir and Istanbul.

Police officers push protesters with their shields during a demonstration on October 28, 2016, in Istanbul following the arrest of two co-mayors in Diyarbakir. (Photo by AFP)

On Thursday, five members of Turkish security forces and five Kurdish militants were killed in clashes in the southeast. Two soldiers were killed in a clash near Hani, a town outside Diyarbakir. A third died in a firefight outside Cukurca, near the Iraqi border, where five militants were also killed. Another soldier was killed by a homemade explosive device in Bingol, north of Diyarbakir, and a Kurd was killed in Batman province to the east.
Violence has escalated since the PKK called off a two-year ceasefire with the government in the wake of the July 2015 bombing in the southern Kurdish-majority town of Suruc, which claimed more than 30 civilian lives. Turkish officials held the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group responsible for the act of terror.
The PKK militants, who accuse the government of supporting Daesh, launched a string of supposed reprisal attacks against Turkish security forces after the bomb attack, in turn prompting the Turkish military to tighten the noose on the PKK.
shared on wplocker.com