Jailed since 2016, Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk sentenced to another prison term

Kurdish politician and former member of parliament Aysel Tuğluk, who has been imprisoned in Turkey since 2016, has been given another prison sentence - for alleged terror propaganda in 2012 and 2013.


Aysel Tuğluk has been sentenced to another prison term on Friday. A Turkish court in Van imposed twenty months in prison on the former member of parliament for alleged PKK propaganda in 2012 and 2013. Tuğluk, who was not personally present in the courtroom but was connected via video conferencing system from the high-security Kandıra Prison in Kocaeli province, denied the accusations against her. She said that her incriminated statements were merely calls for peace. The verdict is not yet final.

Aysel Tuğluk has been in prison since the end of 2016. The lawyer, who represented Abdullah Öcalan among others, has already been convicted in several cases, and other trials are still pending. In February 2020, the Turkish Court of Appeal confirmed the highest prison sentence of ten years' imprisonment against Tuğluk. The 56-year-old was convicted of "leading a terrorist organization" due to her role as co-chair of the grassroots alliance Democratic Society Congress (DTK). In the so-called Kobanê trial in Ankara, she faces an aggravated life sentence.

Aysel Tuğluk is the founder of several non-governmental organizations such as the Social Law Research Foundation (Toplumsal Hukuk Araştırmaları Vakfı), the Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği, IHD) and the Patriotic Women's Association (Yurtsever Kadınlar Derneği). Tuğluk is also one of the co-founders of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (Demokratik Toplum Partisi, DTP), of which she was leader for a time. The DTP was banned by a decision of the Constitutional Court in 2009. Most recently, she sat in parliament for the HDP and was the party's deputy chair until her arrest almost five years ago.

In September 2017, an attack by a Turkish mob on the funeral of Hatun Tuğluk, the mother of Aysel Tuğluk, sparked worldwide outrage. Hundreds of racists and nationalists attacked the funeral in Ankara with stones and shouted hate slogans against the Armenian and Alevi minorities. The body then had to be exhumed because the mob had threatened to desecrate the corpse. A few days later, Tuğluk was buried in Dersim and her daughter was not allowed to say goodbye as the prison administration had not given her a second special permit.