[QODLink]
Europe
Turkish court jails Kurdish leaders
Defendants vow to appeal to European Court of Human Rights if necessary.
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2007 03:06 GMT
Turkey has fought Kurdish fighters in its southeast region for more than two decades [GALLO/GETTY]

A Turkish court has sentenced the leader and deputy leader of a mainly Kurdish party to 18 months each in prison for using the Kurdish language in political leaflets.
 
Ahmet Turk, head of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), and Aysel Tugluk, the party's deputy leader, were convicted on Monday but plan to appeal against their sentence.
Nuri Ozmen, the lawyer representing the two Kurdish political leaders, said: "We will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if need be."
 
Turk and Tugluk were found guilty of allowing distribution of leaflets in the Kurdish language on International Women's Day last March.
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
Topics in this article
People
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In US study, MIT scientists changed the emotions linked to specific memories in mice.
The seizure of the Tabqa airbase highlights the Islamic State's consolidation of power in eastern Syria, analysts say.
Traditional spring festival blossoms outside India through fun runs, raves and TV commercials.
Parents unable to look after children are marrying them off at a tender age, exposing them to maternal deaths.
New measures needed as dozens of citizens fighting with Islamic State pose home-grown terror threat, PM Abbott says.
join our mailing list