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Prosecutor seeks 18 years for former Kurdish deputy over speeches in parliament

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A prosecutor in Turkey’s southeastern province of Mardin has demanded 18 years in prison for a former deputy from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who is standing trial for speeches she made in parliament.

Gülser Yıldırım, among the many jailed Kurdish politicians in Turkey for alleged links to terrorism, appeared in court on Friday over a number of speeches she made as an elected deputy, the Evrensel daily reported.

The prosecutor accuses her of disseminating terrorist propaganda and claims that political immunity from prosecution does not apply in this case.

One of her lawyers, Erdal Kuzu, defended the deputy’s speeches as political activity and said had a deputy from the ruling party made similar speeches, there would not have been a trial. The deputy’s lawyer cited discrimination based on political identity.

The Kurdish political movement in Turkey has been under a crackdown particularly since the breakdown of negotiations in 2015 between the government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hundreds of HDP deputies and local politicians are under arrest on charges of supporting the PKK.

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