Ankara court releases non-arrest assurance for senior PKK leaders

Ankara court releases non-arrest assurance for senior PKK leaders

Ankara court releases non-arrest assurance for senior PKK leaders

Former Democracy Party (DEP) MP Remzi Kartal is also among the key names included in the court's decision.

A heavy penal court in Turkish capital Ankara has released non-arrest assurances for dozens of senior figures involved with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The court order applies to key PKK leaders currently living abroad, including Zübeyir Aydar and Remzi Kartal, on the condition of their return to Turkey within three months.

The Ankara 8th Heavy Penal Court has been trying in absentia 31 defendants involved in forming the “Kurdish Parliament in Exile” and the “Kurdistan National Congress,” on charges of “establishing and directing an armed organization.” The “non-arrest assurance” was delivered for 26 defendants who have so far not appeared before the court and are abroad, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on June 14.

In addition to Aydar and Kartal, Şemsettin Aktaş, Elif Alataş, Ali Haydar Aslıyüce, Felemez Başboğa, Ekrem Berkpınar, Mehmet Sıraç Bilgin, Nejdet Buldan, Ali Haydar Celasun, Abdurrahman Çadırcı, Aziz Doğan, Yaşar Ertaş, Haydar Işık, Mahmut Kılınç, Ökkeş Kolusarı, Ali Matur, Şengül Özbek, İsmail Özden, Celal Özkan, İlknur Şen, Mehmet Taşkala, Nizamettin Toğuç, Ahmet Turhallı, Mesut Uysal and Mehmet Ali Yiğit are listed as those defendants.

The most notable individuals in this group are Aydar and Kartal because they are among the most influential people in the PKK. Both were elected to Parliament in 1991 when the pro-Kurdish now-defunct People’s Labor Party (HEP) entered the elections on the now-defunct Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP) ticket. When the HEP faced closure, they joined the Democracy Party (DEP), also later defunct.

The two moved to Europe in 1995 after the DEP was outlawed in 1994 for collaborating with the PKK. Decisions for their arrest were released after their parliamentary immunities were lifted. They have been living in Europe since then.

Aydar is a member of the executive council of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK, and Kartal is the co-leader of Kongra-Gel, an offshoot of the PKK.
The Ankara 8th Heavy Penal Court based its decision on Article 246 of the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK), which states that the court may issue - in respect to the defaulter accused - an assurance document stating if the defendant appears at the main hearing, they shall be immune from pre-trial arrest and this assurance may be subject to conditions.

The case concerning the 31 defendants was earlier being held at the Ankara 11th Heavy Penal Court, which in early March issued non-arrest assurances to exiles Yusuf Serhat Bucak, Şerafettin Kaya and Yaşar Kaya, if they returned to the country within three months, in consideration of their age and health. All three returned the country afterward.

However, according to Anadolu Agency, the consideration of age and health was not a part of the recent decision about the 26 defendants.

The Ankara 8th Heavy Penal Court also ruled to lift an earlier ruling that froze the assets of Bucak, Şerafettin Kaya and Yaşar Kaya.

Yaşar Kaya was a founder of the DEP and returned to the country in mid-April after living in self-exile in Germany for more than two decades as a political refugee. Kaya’s return was seen as a show of support for the government-led peace process.