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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 March 2007, 21:54 GMT
Kurd jailed for honouring Ocalan
Ahmet Turk. File photo
It was the second conviction for Ahmet Turk in a week
A Kurdish politician in Turkey has been sentenced to six months in prison for giving jailed Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan a respectful title.

A court in Diyarbakir said Ahmet Turk's use of "Sayin" - meaning "esteemed" - implied respect for Ocalan.

Ocalan is serving a life sentence after he was found guilty of treason for leading the Kurdish armed campaign in which more than 30,000 people died.

Ahmet Turk leads a pro-Kurdish party. He is reportedly considering an appeal.

The term "Sayin" is also sometimes translated simply as "Mr".

Ahmet Turk was sentenced by the court on a charge of supporting a criminal in a speech he made in January 2006.

It was the second conviction for the leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) in seven days.

Last week, Ahmet Turk - alongside with a DTP deputy leader - was sentenced to 18 months in prison for distributing party materials in the Kurdish language.

Turkish law allows distribution of political literature only in Turkish.

'Harassment campaign'

Tuesday's ruling against Ahmet Turk is the latest in a wave of legal proceedings against his party, the BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Istanbul says.
Abdullah Ocalan. File photo
Abdullah Ocalan was captured in 1999

According to one tally, more than 50 DTP members of the pro-Kurdish DTP have been arrested and at least seven senior officials charged in less than a fortnight, our correspondent says.

Party officials argue they are victims of a sustained campaign of harassment, saying the authorities are trying to close the party down before a general election later this year.

The DTP campaigns for greater cultural and political rights for Turkey's large Kurdish population, our correspondent says.

But she says the party is viewed with deep suspicion by Turkish nationalists, who argue it is closely tied to the Kurdish separatist cause.

Party leaders insist they support a united Turkey and an end to violent conflict.


SEE ALSO
Inquiry into Ocalan 'poisoning'
01 Mar 07 |  Europe
Profile: Abdullah Ocalan
13 May 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Turkey
25 Oct 06 |  Country profiles

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