Turkish court jails Kurdish leaders

Defendants vow to appeal to European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

    Turkey has fought Kurdish fighters in its southeast region for more than two decades [GALLO/GETTY]

    The Ankara court also ruled that the leaflets contained praise for Abdullah Ocalan. The government says Ocalan, a Kurdish leader, is a terrorist and he is now serving a life sentence at a prison on an island near Istanbul.
     
    Ozmen said his clients had nothing to do with the leaflets, which he said had been prepared by local women DTP activists. He also denied the leaflets had praised Ocalan.
     
    Ankara blames Ocalan, and Kurdish fighters under his command, for the deaths of more than 30,000 people in Turkey's southeast region since 1984.
     
    Kurdish fighters have been active in the southeast of Turkey for more than two decades, though violence has fallen considerably since the 1999 jailing of Ocalan.
     
    The DTP campaigns for more cultural and political rights for Turkey's estimated 12 to 15 million Kurds and says it is a purely peaceful party.
     
    But many say it is a mouthpiece for Kurdish separatists. Use of the Kurdish language also remains a sensitive issue in Turkey.
     
    A number of EU-related reforms have eased restrictions on its use in broadcasting and education, but it still cannot be used at rallies or for other political purposes.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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