Convicted Turkish deputy calls for peace between Kurds, Turks

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, convicted by a Turkish court on Thursday for terrorism offences, reiterated a call for peace between Kurdish militants seeking autonomy and the Turkish army at a press briefing at the parliament in Ankara.

Gergerlioğlu said on Monday that he was calling for peace as a Turk, not as a Kurd.

Turkey has intensified a crackdown on members of the HDP following the deaths of 13 kidnapped Turkish citizens, mostly security personnel, during a military operation by the Turkish army against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq just over a week ago. Turkey says the hostages were executed by the PKK.

The decision by Turkey’s Court of Cessation on Thursday was politically motivated, Gergerlioğlu said. The conviction, which Gergerlioğlu said he will appeal at the Constitutional Court, was based on sharing a news article, which included a statement by the PKK.

The PKK is an armed group that has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for almost four decades. It is designated as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

In January, the office of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan requested that the parliamentary immunities of Gergerlioğlu and three other HDP deputies be lifted ahead of any possible conviction for terrorism-related offences.

In a separate decision, a court convicted Filiz Buluttekin, a former joint mayor of the municipality of the mainly Kurdish district of Sur, to 7.5 years in jail for membership of an armed terrorist organisation.