The 892-page indictment -- filed as part of an investigation into the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella group that encompasses the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) -- includes 50 suspects, many of whom are lawyers. This indictment is referred to as the “second KCK indictment” as another court accepted a 2,400-page KCK indictment on Tuesday, in which publisher Ragıp Zarakolu and Professor Büşra Ersanlı face lengthy prison terms on charges of leading and aiding a terrorist organization.
The number one suspect named in the indictment is lawyer Mehmet Nuri Deniz. Mahmut Alınak, a former Democracy Party (DEP) deputy and lawyer for PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, is also among the 50 suspects in the indictment.
The first indictment, which was accepted by the court on Tuesday, asserts that Ersanlı was in charge of the Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) training course -- called the Politics Academy -- and maintains that the content of the course was heavily influenced by the terrorist PKK and KCK. The prosecution alleges that, as the person in charge of the BDP's training program, Ersanlı can be considered a leader of the group.
Ersanlı and Zarakolu were arrested in November on terrorism charges as part of an investigation into the KCK. The indictment seeks between 15 and 22.5 years in prison for Ersanlı, who is accused of holding a senior position in the KCK. Between seven-and-a-half to 15 years are sought for Zarakolu, who is also accused of aiding the group.
In a related development, Bingöl Police Department's counterterrorism units conducted an operation against the KCK in the Karlıova district of the eastern province of Bingöl on Thursday. Police raided the Karlıova Municipality building and seized several documents and copies of the hard drives of municipal computers. Karlıova Mayor Ferit Çelik was detained over claims that he has links to the terrorist KCK. Çelik's interrogation was still continuing at Bingöl Police Department when Today's Zaman went to print on Thursday evening.
The investigation into the KCK, which prosecutors say is a group that controls the PKK and other affiliated groups, started in December 2009, and a large number of suspected KCK members, including several mayors from the BDP, have been detained.
The suspects are accused of various crimes, including membership in a terrorist organization, aiding and abetting a terrorist organization and attempting to destroy the country's unity and integrity. BDP officials say the investigation is the government's way of suppressing BDP politicians, and denies links between the BDP member suspects and any terrorist organization.