Pro-Kurdish Mayor Sentenced to 20 Years in Turkey Over Militant Links

A Turkish court has sentenced Mehmet Siddik Akis, the pro-Kurdish mayor of Hakkari province, to nearly 20 years in prison for alleged affiliations with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Akis, who denies the charges, claims the trial is politically motivated. His party, DEM, disputes the verdict and maintains their independence from the PKK.

Reuters | Diyarbakir | Updated: 05-06-2024 17:51 IST | Created: 05-06-2024 17:51 IST
Pro-Kurdish Mayor Sentenced to 20 Years in Turkey Over Militant Links
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  • Turkey

A Turkish court sentenced a pro-Kurdish party mayor in southeast Turkey to nearly 20 years in prison on Wednesday over links to militants, local media reported. Mehmet Siddik Akis, 53, mayor of Hakkari province bordering Iran and Iraq, was detained on Monday and accused of having a high-level role in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group.

"I know the trial is political," Akis said in his statement to the Hakkari criminal court on Wednesday. The mayor denied the charges. His pro-Kurdish DEM Party, the third largest party in parliament, said on X that the verdict is "null and void". Turkish authorities accuse the DEM Party of ties to the PKK, which it denies.

Akis was replaced on Monday by the state governor, two months after the mayor won power in local elections. After previous municipal elections, Turkey detained pro-Kurdish mayors, removing virtually all from their posts to be replaced by state officials over charges of ties to the PKK.

In the March 31 local elections, DEM reaffirmed its regional strength, winning 10 provinces in the mainly Kurdish southeast. PKK is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Over 40,000 people have been killed in the PKK's insurgency against the Turkish state, launched in 1984.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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