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 Turkey sentences 15 Kurdish minors to jail

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Turkey sentences 15 Kurdish minors to jail  30.4.2010  

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April 30, 2010

ANKARA, — A Turkish high criminal court has sentenced 15 Kurd minors to three to five years in prison on charges of hurling stones at police officers and chanting illegal slogans during a protest in the southern province of Mersin.

The minors, whose ages range between 13 and 17, were arrested recently for participating in protests against the imprisonment of the Kurdish leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK),
www.ekurd.netAbdullah Ocalan, according to a report published by Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday.

Turkey has witnessed frequent Kurdish protests since October. Kurdish demonstrators complain about the prison conditions of Ocalan, who is serving a life sentence at the maximum security prison island of Imrali.                      

The photo shows a minor being held at a detention facility in Turkey. Photo Presstv ir
The Kurds are also angry about the closure of the DTP Party in December on the grounds that it was linked to the PKK.

Since 1984 the 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.

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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