Aysel Tuğluk, Diyarbakır MP for
the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), said in Batman in February 2007:
“The honourable Prime Minister is telling us that he will talk to us if we
denounce the PKK as terrorists. Even if we do that, this problem will not be
Imprisonment and lifted immunity
She now faces 1.5 years
imprisonment for the speech she made at the party conference in the
At yesterday’s (5 February)
hearing at Diyarbakır’s
4th Heavy Penal Court,
her lawyers rejected all charges; however, she was sentenced to 1.5 years
imprisonment for spreading PKK propaganda. The sentence was not deferred.
The court had put a halt to the
case when Tuğluk was elected into parliament in July 2007. However, when the
Supreme Court of appeals overturned this decree, she was retried.
"Utterance taken out of context"
Her lawyers, Sabahattin Acar and
Fethi Gümüş, told bianet that her utterance had been taken out of context. They
said that she had been emphasising democracy, equality, peace and brotherhood,
and that her words had been twisted in order to accuse her.
Gümüş announced that they would
file an appeal against the sentence today (6 February). The court did not
consider any extenuating circumstances, and has sent the file to the
Parliamentary Speaker’s Office in order to lift her parliamentarian immunity.
"Punishment by Erdoğan"
Selahattin Demirtaş, also
Diyarbakır MP for the DTP and parliamentary group leader, made a written
statement in which he said that the government’s and Prime Minister’s politics
were increasing the pressure on Kurdish politicians. He said that the party was
interpreting this decree as “a punishment handed out by the PM personally.”
“The judgment in Tuğluk’s case is
the result of a political approach. The basic arguments of this political
approach have been imposed onto society by PM Erdoğan,” he added.
Demirtaş said that he would
gladly sign his name under the speech which earned Aysel Tuğluk a prison
sentence, and that they considered it a punishment given to all peace
supporters, those who were seeking a democratic solution to the Kurdish issue,
and everyone using their democratic political rights. ,
“The time to hold people to
account for the prison sentences of the honourable Leyla Zana, and now for the
honourable Aysel Tuğluk, will be at the balllot boxes of 29 March (when local
elections take place). We will make our most meaningful reply to those who
think they can silence us by punishing us with an embarrassing victory, and we
will present this gift to our people, who are thirsting for freedom.” (EÖ/AG)