Turkish journalist facing jail over Newroz photo social media post

A Turkish prosecutor has failed a lawsuit against a journalist on terror propaganda charges over a social media post featuring a photograph of Newroz celebrations, Duvar news site reported on Wednesday.

Melis Alphan is accused of conducting propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) with a photograph she shared on Twitter of Newroz celebrations in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority Diyarbakır province in 2015.

The prosecutor is demanding seven years and six months in jail for the image, which contained a PKK flag, it said.

The PKK is a armed group, which has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for almost four decades.

Alphan reacted to the lawsuit, calling it "utter nonsense.’’

"I am going to be tried for terror propaganda, she wrote on Twitter. The goal here is to silence me. "But I have this bad habit of  wanting to speak whenever I am told to be quiet.’’ 

Newroz, which marks the spring equinox, is celebrated on March 21 by Turkey’s Kurdish population of some 15 million.

Numerous Turkish TV stationsbroadcast the 2015 celebrations in Diyarbakır, which coincided with the Kurdish peace process. Talks between the PKK and Turkish officials failed in July 2015 as relations between the two sides came under pressure due to the Syrian conflict and domestic politics.