Turkiye: Deposed pro-Kurdish mayor sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison

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Written By Maya Cantina

The verdict against Mehmet Siddik Akis was handed down on Wednesday for “terrorism”, his lawyer told the AFP news agency. As shown in images published by a local journalist on the online service X, there were protests in Hakkari shortly after the ruling.

Akis, a member of the pro-Kurdish opposition party DEM, became the first pro-Kurdish mayor to be taken into custody on Monday since the March 31 local elections. Members of the ruling party AKP and DEM clashed in parliament in Ankara on Tuesday when they wanted to protest against the mayor’s dismissal. Went to Hakkari police officers They used rubber bullets against protesters, according to opposition-affiliated media Medyascope.

Erdogan: “The courts have decided according to the law.”

After his sentencing Wednesday, Akis spoke of a “political trial” and said: “I am 53 years old, I have fought all these years and I will continue to fight.” Turkish Justice accused him of having ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which he denied.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to the conviction by saying: “The courts have decided according to the law.” Referring to Tuesday’s clashes in parliament, Erdogan said: “There is no point in attacking left and right with posters in hand. If someone is “involved in illegal activities,” “the law must be enforced,” Erdogan said. ‘Hakkari was a first step in that direction.’

Election debacle for Erdogan in March

The DEM, the former HDP, won local elections in a total of 77 Turkish municipalities at the end of March. This included several major cities in the Kurdish southeast of the country, such as Diyarbakir, the largest city in the region. However, President Erdogan’s AKP experienced an electoral debacle in the local elections.

Erdogan accuses the HDP of being the political arm of the PKK. The HDP rejects this. Ban proceedings are underway against the HDP and HDP MPs have joined forces to form the DEM. Former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas has been in prison since 2016; he was sentenced to 42 years in prison for, among other things, “violating the unity of the state”.



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