Renowned Islamic theologian and writer İhsan Eliaçık is facing up to seven-and-a-half years in prison on charges of disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in his speeches.
The first hearing of the writer’s trial was held at the İstanbul 26th High Criminal Court on Wednesday and was not attended by Eliaçık, who is a vocal critic of the Turkish government.
The case against Eliaçık was launched after a complaint was filed with the Prime Ministry Communications Center (BİMER) about his speeches.
Eliaçık has been indicted due to an address delivered at a conference on Dec.13, 2015 titled “Democratic and pro-freedom Islam” and due to remarks in an interview he gave on Jan. 11, 2016 in which he said, “If defending self-administration [for Kurds] and talking about this is tyranny, then the 1921 Constitution of Turkey was a heinous constitution.”
It is claimed in the indictment that Eliaçık in his speeches sought to create a negative impression of the Turkish military’s operations against the PKK and praised the actions of the PKK, which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.
In a message from his Twitter account on Wednesday, Eliaçık addressed the prosecutor who indicted him, saying, “Did you only find me to punish me on charges of supporting terrorism?”
The writer also posted a combination of photographs of some government officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and pro-government journalists who openly praised the PKK and its jailed leader Abdullah Öcalan.
He asked the prosecutor whether he was planning to file charges against them, too.