Turkey convicts former pro-Kurdish party officials over Kobani protests

By Thomson Reuters May 16, 2024 | 8:06 AM

By Huseyin Hayatsever

ANKARA (Reuters) -A Turkish court convicted former leading officials from the pro-Kurdish HDP party, including co-leader Figen Yuksekdag, on Thursday for instigating 2014 protests triggered by an Islamic State attack on the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.

The verdict was likely to fuel political tensions in Turkey around the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is facing potential closure in a separate court case and has been succeeded in parliament by another pro-Kurdish party.

In total, Yuksekdag was sentenced to more than 30 years in prison. The court has not yet ruled on the HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas.

Thirty-seven people died in the 2014 protests, which were triggered by accusations that Turkey’s army stood by as the ultra-hardline Islamic State militants besieged Kobani, a Syrian border town in plain view of Turkey.

Those convicted were among 108 defendants, including senior HDP figures, charged with 29 offences including homicide and harming the unity of the Turkish state. The HDP denied the charges.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Ece Toksabay)