Kurdish Editor Jailed for 166 Years in Turkey

DIYARBAKIR (AFP)–A Turkish court Thursday sentenced the former editor of a Kurdish-language newspaper to 166 years and six months in jail on charges of spreading propaganda for a terrorist organization.

The court ruled that Vedat Kursun had “disseminated the propaganda of a terrorist organization” on 103 different occasions by publishing news stories and photographs about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Azadiya Welat (Independence of Homeland) daily.

Kursun, who was present in the court in Diyarbakır, was also found guilty of “committing a crime on behalf of the terrorist organization.”

Defense lawyers said they would appeal the sentence.

In his defense, Kursun, who has been in custody since February 2008, had told the court that his decision to publish the stories and pictures in the paper, of which he was editor-in-chief, was not based on criminal intent.

“Our coverage is not different to other newspapers in this country. We always aimed to serve peace. We never published stories that would have incited the public to violence,” he said.

Founded in 1994 as a weekly that turned into a daily in 2006, Azadiya Welat has often been the target of judicial action, with prosecutors alleging that it is a mouthpiece for the PKK, which has been under attack from the Turkish military for 25 years.

In February, Ozan Kilinc, who was the paper’s editor-in-chief at the time, was sentenced to for 21 years in jail, also for spreading terrorist propaganda.

His conviction was condemned by the International Press Institute as an “unacceptable” move that amounted to “government censorship of the media.”

The PKK–listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union–took up arms in 1984 in Southeast Turkey, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

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12 Comments

  1. Alex Postallian said:

    It proves the that the turks are really STUPID.If the paper prints the truth You give him a commendation, not prison.Secondly can any nation be democratic not allowing freedom of press.I am 85 yrs old the longer this charade goes on with the turkies,now its time for rehab.They just dont get it.So I am asking,ARE THEY THAT STUPID. YES THEY ARE THAT STUPID. End of story.

  2. john papazian said:

    Well isn’t this great? Kurds and Turks killing each other over the remains of Armenia. Sounds bad but theres some poetic justice to,heh? I like the “and six months”,nice touch. This is just an example of the absurdity of Article 301 and the parinoid nationalism that always show the world how Turkey really is.

  3. MihranK said:

    So much for Turkish democracy and human rights, does anyone need such a morally bankrupt Country in the EU?or for that matter to be an ally of USA.

    Open your eyes USA, and western world, Turkey is just pulling the wool over your eyes, and pulling the rug from under your feet.

  4. Pingback: Turkish "Democracy" & "Civilization" - Page 7 - The Orange Room - forum.tayyar.org

  5. manooshag said:

    Hye, Turkey sentencing the Kurd journalist for 166 years AND six months is another ‘dumb and dumber’move by Turks.
    This undemocratic sentence (from so-called democracy) is now known the world over – and if the world didn’t notice a Turkey before – today they will come to know the inane Ottoman mindset the Turkish citzenry has to to contend… whether a Turk or not. In the case of the Kurd journalist who received this sentencing theTurks labelled the Kurds as ‘terrorists’ in order to be free to treat them as ‘terrorists’… howsomever, the truth be known, over these years the Turks is currently pursuing their next Genocide – of the Kurds ( ‘terrorists’). Kurds today are seeking to escape the yoke of the bully Turk – fighting for freedom from the Turk/Ottoman mentality.
    Turks still pursue the Armenians – thus the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation continues from the
    19th century, the 20th century and now, until the reparations are rendered, into the 21st century.
    Manooshag

  6. manooshag said:

    P.S. As I recall, George Bush, as president, also agreed to label the Kurds as ‘terrorists’ to please the bully Turks.. another dumb move. Manooshag

  7. Frank said:

    It is amazing to see the Turkish judicial system at work, it just reeks of “Turkishness” , what made me have a small chuckle was the absurdity of the jail term plus 6 months. I must say only a Turk could do that.

    How as Armenians are we supposed to feel about the treatment of Kurds? Our ancestors were brutally killed by the Kurds in thousands. Why did not the Kurds have the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong? They simply followed orders to kill Armenians.

    The Kurds and Turks can kill each other and the Kurds can still wait for the promised Armenian lands from their Turkish cousins to make their homeland. “Biji Kurdistan”

    Rather ironic I think.

  8. Vasken said:

    His sentence will last long as the state of Turkey crumbles – that is very soon!

  9. Nairian said:

    Yes Frank, the Kurds were as guilty as the Turks during the Armenian Genocide; but now that they are also being persecuted by the Turkish government, at least some are recognizing their anscestral’s huge guilts and killings to us, and they say that the Kurdish parliament, which is in Europe, have accepted the Armenian Genocide and showed remorse towards Armenians. However there remain some Kurds that are still being bought by the Turkish government and they are pursuing the majority of the Kurds that show remorse for what their anscestors did to Armenians. Go figure.

  10. Grish Begian said:

    I wonder how this mathematician Turkish judge calculated for this poor Kurdish journalist.. 166 years and 6 months on top of that!! WOW !!

    My hope, this phenomenon Turkish judge had a “made in Turkey” calculator in his hand..

    These new hawkish Turkish “human right” judges must have been fade by Grey wolf packs…

  11. Araxi said:

    It just goes to show how scared the turkish authorities are of the POWER OF THE PEN. It is stronger that sultan hamid’s sword, the one that the present turkish government is wheeling.
    Shame on turkey. How they expect to get into the EU is beyond the comprehension of any civilised nation.
    This is turkish hatred gone mad.

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