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 Kurdish journalist charged with 525 years in Turkey

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Kurdish journalist charged with 525 years in Turkey  20.2.2010  
By staff

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February 20, 2010

DIYARBAKIR, Kurdish Southeastern region of Turkey, — Prosecutors are asking for a total of 525 years for the former editor in chief of the Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat on charges of disseminating the propaganda of a 'terrorist' organization and for belonging to a 'terrorist' organization.

A total of 105 charges were brought against former editor in chief Vedat Kurşun for publishing propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization.

Kurşun had already been under arrest for the last eight months after being convicted of belonging to a terrorist organization.

Kurşun appeared before the Diyarbakir Criminal Court on Friday. The court ruled to merge his previous case with the current one,
www.ekurd.netraising Kurşun’s charges to a total of 105 counts of publishing propaganda and one count of belonging to a terrorist organization.                         

Vedat Kursun, the former in chief of the only Kurdish-language newspaper in Turkey, Azadiya Welat. DIHA photo
During the proceedings, the prosecutors pointed out that although 32 different indictments were issued and 94 different counts were brought against Azadiya Welat, the daily has not stopped publishing propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization. The prosecutor pointed out that the daily routinely refers to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK’s, jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan as a “Kurdish Public Leader.”

Last week, Ozan Kılınç, who assumed the role of editor in chief after Kurşun, was sentenced to 21 years for publishing propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization, belonging to a terrorist organization and for committing crimes on behalf of a terror organization.

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.

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 DTP party, street protests and PKK violence, Ankara has vowed to push ahead with the reforms. 
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Copyright, respective author or news agency, Hurriyetdailynews com  | AFP | Agencies


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