Kurdish man to face terrorism charges over Trump’s letter to Erdoğan

A court in Turkey’s southeastern majority-Kurdish province of Diyarbakır is charging Kurdish man M.S.Ö. with terrorist propaganda over a social media post about former U.S. president Donald Trump’s 2019 letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Mezopotamya Agency reported on Sunday.

Diyarbakır’s chief public prosecutor said in the indictment that M.S.Ö. had shared a photograph of the letter Trump sent to Erdoğan before Turkey launched a military incursion into northern Syria against U.S.-allied Syrian Kurds, where he urged the Turkish president to “not be a fool”, and that the post had garnered three likes.

Another post cited in the indictment was a photo of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Hüda Kaya where a dove was seen breaking a machine gun, with the caption, “humans live with peace”.

M.S.Ö. accepted that he had posted the texts in question, but denied the charges. The trial will continue in Diyarbakır at a date to be determined. The suspect wasn’t arrested.

Between 2015 and 2020, almost 16,000 HDP members and supporters have been detained, and more than 5,000 remain in prisons, according to news website Duvar.

Former co-chairs of the party, which is the second largest opposition bloc in the country, are among those awaiting trial in prison, facing similar terrorist propaganda charges among others.

Turkey’s anti-terror laws have been criticised for casting too wide a net before, including by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović who said in 2018 that “several provisions of the Turkish Criminal Code relating to terrorism and the Anti-Terrorism Law continue to generate some of the most serious violations of freedom of expression in the country”.

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