DTP’s Türk slams prison sentence demand for child protesters

DTP’s Türk slams prison sentence demand for child protesters

Ahmet Türk

November 19, 2008, Wednesday/ 18:25:00
Ahmet Türk, the leader of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), Turkey's main pro-Kurdish party, has lashed out at a prosecutor who demanded 23 years in prison for elementary school students participating in illegal demonstrations.
"What kind of a mindset is this? Is it the way you embrace the public? Will you win the people back by turning the whole country into a prison?" asked Türk, in an address during his party's parliamentary group meeting yesterday. Türk's remarks came in response to an indictment prepared by the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor's Office that demanded 23 years in prison for six elementary school students between the ages of 13 and 14 for participation in illegal demonstrations and throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the police three weeks ago, during protests of the prime minister's visit to the predominantly Kurdish Southeast.

"These children grow up under the shadow of guns and tanks. Were you able to find and punish the perpetrators of the Şemdinli attack [on a bookstore in eastern Hakkari in 2005]? Is this your justice, esteemed prime minister?" Türk went on to ask.

Türk also criticized a recent verdict by the Supreme Court of Appeals punishing people who had participated in demonstrations held in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as if they were PKK members.

"This verdict means that all individuals participating in democratic demonstrations will be punished on charges of membership in a terrorist organization. It seems that they [the government] will soon set up courts in the streets and judge millions of people," he remarked.

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