Jailed former leader of pro-Kurdish HDP fined for insulting Erdoğan

A Turkish court has ruled the jailed former co chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Figen Yüksekdağ must pay 1740 TL liras ($ 291) for insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The HDP former co-chair, who has been jailed since 2016 on terror related charges , attended Tuesday’s trial via closed-circuit camera system (SEGBİS), Artı Gerçek news site reported.

His lawyer represented Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it said. 

"The case in which I am accused of insulting the president is not a trial, but a political method to extend the life of the ruling party,’’ Yüksekdağ said. 

Between 2010 and 2017, 12,893 cases of insulting the president were filed. Of these, 12,305 were filed under the presidency Erdoğan, who assumed office in 2014.

Yüksekdağ was arrested in November 2016 along with HDP co-chair, Selahattin Demirtaş.

The Turkish government has implemented a crackdown on the pro-Kurdish HDP following breakdown of peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2015.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government accuse the HDP of having links to the PKK militant group, which has led to prosecutions of thousands of its members and some leaders. The HDP denies such links.