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 Kurdish editor faces 21 years jail in Turkey for PKK rebel propaganda

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Kurdish editor faces 21 years jail in Turkey for PKK rebel propaganda  10.2.2010  

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February 10, 2010

DIYARBAKIR, Kurdish Southeastern region of Turkey, A Turkish court on Wednesday sentenced the editor-in-chief of a Kurdish-language newspaper to 21 years and three months in jail on charges of spreading separatist propaganda.

The court ruled that Ozan Kilinc had "disseminated the propaganda of a terrorist organization" by publishing reports and pictures on the outlawed Turkey Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its jailed leader in 12 separate issues of the Azadiya Welat (Independence of Homeland) daily in June last year.                    

Ozan Kilinc, the editor-in-chief of a Kurdish-language newspaper Azadiya Welat. DIHA photo
Kilinc, who also owns the newspaper, was found guilty of "committing a crime on behalf of the terrorist organization." The judges issued an arrest warrant for the editor, who was not present in the courtroom.   

Founded in 1994 as a weekly which turned into a daily in 2006, Azadiya Welat has often been the target of judicial action on grounds that it is a mouthpiece for the PKK, which has led a bloody 25-year rebellion against Ankara.

The paper's previous editor-in-chief, Vedat Kursun, has been in jail for the past 13 months while being tried for spreading rebel propaganda, praising criminals and aiding and abetting rebels,
www.ekurd.netaccording to Bianet, a civic body defending freedom of expression.

Since 1984 PKK took up arms for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey (Turkey-Kurdistan) which has claimed around 45,000 lives of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK guerrillas. A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

The PKK is considered a 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.

The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

Last August, the government announced plans to expand Kurdish freedoms in a bid to erode popular support for the PKK and end the insurgency.

Although the drive faltered amid a ban on the country's main Kurdish party, street protests and PKK violence, Ankara has vowed to push ahead with the reforms.  
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