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Turkish pro-Kurdish MP sentenced to jail over alleged PKK links

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo, provided by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, shows Turkish and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Lezgin Botan (2nd-L).

A court in Turkey has sentenced a lawmaker from the country’s left-wing and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to more than six years in prison over alleged affiliation to the “terrorist” Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

On Friday, the 2nd High Penal Court in Turkey’s eastern province of Van handed down a six-year-and-three-month jail term to Lezgin Botan.

Jail terms with similar lengths were also given to former HDP legislator Selami Ozyasar and two members from a teachers’ union.

They were convicted of being members of the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), which is said to be linked to the PKK.

MPs on hunger strike

Meanwhile, four HDP lawmakers have gone on hunger strike in a show of protest against a curfew imposed in the southeastern city of Nusaybin, situated 792 kilometers (492 miles) east of the capital, Ankara.

Turkish security officials placed Nusaybin under curfew on November 13, and military operations continue against PKK fighters in the area.

In this file photo, Turkish police officers and armored police vehicles block a road in the southeastern city of Nusaybin. 

There are reports that the power is out in some 70 percent of the neighborhoods in Nusaybin, and one third of the population is experiencing cuts in water supplies.

Turkey has been engaged in a large-scale military campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the recent past. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the PKK in northern Iraq.

The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 20 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc, an ethnically Kurdish town located close to border with Syria. Over 30 people died in the Suruc attack, which the Turkish government blamed on Takfiri Daesh terrorists.

After the bombing in Suruc, the PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of supposedly reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, in turn prompting the Turkish military operations.

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