Aggravated life term sought for HDP deputy in Europe

Aggravated life term sought for HDP deputy in Europe

VAN – Anadolu Agency
Aggravated life term sought for HDP deputy in Europe

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Tuğba Hezer Öztürk (R) attends a pro-PKK demonstration in Brussels. AA photo

Prosecutors in Van have sought an aggravated life term and 48 years in prison for opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Tuğba Hezer Öztürk on terrorism charges.

A court in the eastern province accepted the indictment prepared against Hezer Öztürk, who is currently abroad, on three terror-related counts for her participation in ceremonies and funerals held for outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members as well as her past activities in a number of demonstrations and public gatherings. 

The prosecution against Hezer Öztürk began after she participated in the funeral of female PKK militant Sıdıka Yıldız, who was killed in September 2015, and carried her coffin; a demonstration held after the November 2015 death of Diyarbakır Bar Association Head Tahir Elçi; a demonstration in February 2016 to mark jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan’s deportation to Turkey and a ceremony to mark the death of militant Abdülbaki Sömer who conducted a bomb attack in Ankara in February 2016 that killed 29 people, including civilians. 

The indictment accused Hezer Öztürk of “praising a member of the terror organization” that was killed in the clash with security forces by attending Yıldız’s funeral. It also said she referred to killed PKK militants with the words “we will not forget the warriors of resistance” delivered at a demonstration conducted following Elçi’s death, which the Turkish court said constituted praise and propaganda for the group by saying the militants had engaged in resistance.

During a speech marking Öcalan’s capture by Turkish forces, Hezer Öztürk excoriated the “fascist activities” of the Turkish security forces in southeastern Turkey, vowing to raise “the flag of freedom to the skies,” prompting the court to charge the MP with an attempt “to disrupt the unity” of Turkey. 

Concerning the suspect’s involvement in a funeral for a suicide bomber’s death, the indictment said Hezer Öztürk “committed the crime of conducting terrorist propaganda” with her act that was designed to “show her support for the terror act by Abdülbaki Sömer and to bless the attack in ways that are not compatible with her status as a lawmaker or with her responsibilities.”