Aysel Tuğluk (pronounced [ajsel ˈtuɣɫuk]; born 17 July 1965 in Elâzığ, Turkey) is a pro-Kurdish Zaza politician of the former Democratic Society Party (DTP) in Turkey. She graduated in law from Istanbul University and then worked as a lawyer. She was previously a member of the executive council of the Foundation for Society and Legal Studies (TOHAV).
As well as being a member of the Turkish Human Rights Association (İHD), she is a founder member of the Patriotic Women's Association (YKD). Elected to the Turkish Parliament in 2007, as an MP for Diyarbakir, she is regarded as a member of the moderate wing of the party. She previously acted as a lawyer for Abdullah Öcalan.
In 2007 she was sentenced to 18 months in jail, when she was DTP chairwoman, over the distribution of party leaflets in the Kurdish language, a violation of the law that requires all political literature be in Turkish.
On 5 February 2009 Tuğluk was again sentenced, this time to 18 months in prison by a court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir for violating anti-terrorism laws by referring to PKK fighters as 'heroes to some' at a rally in 2006.
Aysel Tuğluk's status as an elected Member of Parliament gave her legal immunity from going to prison. But in December 2009 the Turkish Constitutional Court stripped her of her Member of Parliament status, and banned her from public politics for five years. The Constitutional Court also outlawed the DTP political party. The Constitutional Court's decision was based on a judgment that she and the DTP have affiliations with the PKK, an organization that does not disavow violence for attaining political objectives. She and the DTP continue to deny such affiliations, and they disavow violence.
She was re-elected to Parliament in the 12 June 2011 general election.
A court sentenced Aysel Tuğluk, an independent Van deputy and the co-chair of the DTK, to 14 years and seven months in prison for 10 separate speeches she delivered in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır and other cities in vicinity on the charges of "committing a crime on behalf of the armed terrorist organization PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) without being a member" and "making propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization."
The Diyarbakır Fourth Court for Serious Crimes convicted Tuğluk for speeches she delivered in 12 separate events she attended between 2007 and 2010. The prosecution had requested 82.5 years in prison for the independent Van deputy.
Tuğluk did not attend the trial where she received eight years and three months on the charge of "making propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization" as stipulated in the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and six years and three months for "committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member of it," as set forth in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK.)
Lawyers Fethi Gümüş and Sedat Yurtdaş expressed their disagreement with the prosecutor's legal opinion as to the accusations delivered on Oct. 19, 2011 and said Tuğluk had delivered her speeches under her identity as a politician.
"When evaluated as a whole, the speeches' main idea [amounts to] a message of fraternity and unity. [The authorities] attempted to draw a different picture by cherry-picking a few sentences," they said, according to news that appeared in the press.
While the court acquitted Tuğluk of the charge of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization" in connection with five of her speeches, it convicted her due to 10 other speeches she had made.
The court also decided against suspending the sentence or offering alternative sanctions. The defendant side has already taken the decision to the Supreme Court of Appeals, lawyer Gümüş told bianet.
- Official website of the DTP (in Turkish language)
- "Dersim 1938: 70 years after" (PDF). 2008. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- "DTP also to blame in Kurdish problem". Hurriyet Daily News. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- "Kurdish MP sentenced to jail". Kathimerini. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- Today's Zaman, 9 Feb 2009: "Tuğluk case risks turning into another Zana scandal". Also see Leyla Zana, another female Kurdish politician who has been sent to prison in circumstances where her advocacy of the Kurdish policy agenda was judicially confounded with support for violence.
- "Court sentences Kurdish MP to jail". Kurd Net. 2009-02-05. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- News report at Sunday's Zaman.
- Article on Bianet