Turkey sentences dismissed Kurdish mayor to prison over terror links
A Turkish court has sentenced a dismissed Kurdish mayor to seven years and six months in prison over charges of membership in a terrorist organisation, Diken news site reported on Monday.
Filiz Buluttekin, former co-mayor of the southeastern Diyarbakır province’s Sur district, was removed from office in Dec. 2019 due to ongoing legal proceedings and her detention as part of an investigation on suspicion of terror links.
She is one of dozens of mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who have been replaced by government-appointed officials over similar charges in the last few years.
The Diyarbakır court on Monday convicted Buluttekin of membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for Kurdish self-rule for almost 40 years.
The prosecutor included dozens of demonstrations attended by the former mayor between 2017 and 2019 and her membership in the now defunct Free Women Congress (KJA), the largest umbrella organization for Kurdish women in Turkey,as reasons for her conviction, Diken said.
The Sur district, where Buluttekin served as mayor, suffered extensive damages in the urban clashes that erupted after Turkey’s peace process with the PKK collapsed in 2015. Nearly half of the district was demolished and cleared of residents, and the curfew declared during the clashes of 2015 and 2016 remains in effect in parts of the district.