A Turkish court on Feb. 22 sentenced a former mayor from the People's Democratic Party (HDP) to seven years and six months in prison over terrorism charges, Diken news portal reported.
Filiz Buluttekin, former co-mayor of the Sur district in Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakır, was removed from the office in 2019 following the launch of an investigation accusing her of links to terrorism.
The indictment against Buluttekin said that she participated in 42 demonstrations between 2017 and 2019, that authorities had confiscated “documents involving propaganda” in her house, and that she was a member of the now-closed Free Women Congress (KJA), an umbrella organization for Kurdish women’s groups.
At the final hearing of the case, the Diyarbakır 11th Heavy Penal Court convicted Buluttekin on charges of “being a member” of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
The HDP governs many cities in the southeast of Turkey and typically appoints one male and one female co-mayor to promote gender equality.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government accuse the HDP of having links to the PKK, leading to prosecutions of thousands of its members and some leaders.
The former co-leaders of the HDP have both been jailed since 2016 on terrorism charges, with several other prominent members accused of supporting terrorism.
Critics describe the crackdown on the party as a move of Erdoğan to further consolidate his grip on power by marginalizing leftist Kurds and strengthening his Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s ties to the nationalist National Movement Party (MHP).