Kurd with lemon accused of supporting
"terror" in Turkey
Deaf, illiterate and dumb
Kurdish man accused of supporting "terror" in Turkey
June 16, 2012
MERSIN, — A Turkish prosecutor has
demanded that a Kurdish man who is deaf, illiterate
and unable to speak be jailed for 25 years for
supporting terrorism, BBC reported.
Possession of a half-lemon was cited as evidence
against Mehmet Tahir Ilhan. Lemon can ease the
effects of tear gas.
Mr Ilhan is charged with making propaganda for the
banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and with
taking part in an illegal organisation.
Mr Ilhan, a bazaar porter from the city of Mersin,
denies the charges.
Using sign language at a hearing in the
south-eastern city of Adana, he said he had got
caught up in a violent pro-Kurdish demonstration.
Under Turkey's anti-terrorism law it is an offence
to show any sign of support for the PKK.
The BBC's Jonathan Head in Istanbul says Turkey's
judiciary often administers harsh penalties on
bafflingly slight evidence.
However, even by Turkish standards, this case is
extraordinary, he says.
If Mr Ilhan is found guilty, the court is expected
to pass a sentence close to the 25 years that the
prosecutor has asked for.
Over the past 18 months, hundreds of Kurdish
activists, journalists and politicians have been
detained under anti-terrorism legislation.
The use of Turkey's anti-terrorism laws has been
widely criticised. The Council of Europe said it was
having a "chilling effect" on freedom of speech.
Our correspondent says the Turkish government is
trying to encourage Kurdish moderates with such
concessions as Kurdish language classes in school,www.ekurd.net
while at the same time isolating the more hard-line
But the sometimes incomprehensible actions of its
judiciary will inevitably undermine such efforts, he
The PKK has several times proposed peaceful solutions regarding Kurdish problem,
Turkey has always refused saying that it will not negotiate with “terrorists”.
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey,
numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees,
lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the
way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within
Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader
Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against
the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara and U.S. The PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
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