Duvar English

Daily Evrensel columnist and member of Turkey’s Labor Party (EMEP) Executive Board, Yusuf Karataş was sentenced to 10 years and six months in prison on the grounds that panels and discussions he organized constituted as “forming and running a terrorist organization.”

Karataş was facing 15 to 22.5 years in prison in the Diyarbakır court case where the judge turned down a motion to send the case back to the prosecutor’s office and sentenced the defendant to 10.5 years in prison on Sept. 21.

While Karataş wasn’t detained immediately, he remains on probation for international travel.

The indictment pointed to the defendant’s participation in the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK) as proof of his “terrorist involvement”, although Karataş noted that members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had also taken part in the foundation of the DTK in 2007.

Karataş’ phone calls and text messages were also used as proof of “terrorist activity”, although the politician noted these were communications with his colleagues from EMEP.

“If there’s a terrorist organization here, it has to be EMEP,” Karataş said.

EMEP Chairwoman Selma Gürkan said in an official statement that the court’s sentencing of Karataş over his political activity was a violation of his right to take part in politics, and was a violation of his constitutional rights.