Turkish Minute

PKK area leader given prison sentence in Germany on terror charges

A protestor holds a banner with a picture of jailed leader of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Abdullah Öcalan during a rally against a ban on the PKK on November 16, 2013 in Berlin. AFP

A 50-year-old Turkish citizen has been given a prison sentence of 18 months by a German court on charges of membership in a terrorist organization due to his links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US, according to a statement from the German court.

The trial of the man, whose identity was not revealed, took place at the higher regional court in Celle, a town in lower Saxony. The final hearing was held on Tuesday, when the judges handed down the prison sentence for serving as the PKK area leader in Wesermarsch, a district in the in the northwestern part of Lower Saxony.

According to the ruling, the man was involved in activities between March 2018 and May 2019 as the PKK regional leader, organizing donation campaigns and demonstrations on the orders of PKK leaders in Bremen.

He was aware that the PKK was trying to achieve its goals in Turkey by committing murder, according to the statement from the Celle Higher Regional Court.

Before becoming an area leader, the defendant was an active PKK member in its lower ranks.

The court’s decision, which is likely to please Ankara, which has been criticizing Europe for not doing enough against PKK members and their activities in Europe, is open to appeal.

More than 30,000 people have perished so far in the conflict with the PKK, which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.

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