Aysel Tuğluk (pronounced [ajsel ˈtuːɫuk]; born 17 July 1965 in Elâzığ, Turkey) is a pro-Kurdish Zaza politician and founding member of the 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 Social Law Researches Foundation Board Council.
Professional and political career
As well as being a member of the Turkish Human Rights Association (İHD), she is a founding member of the Patriotic Women's Association (YKD). She was a candidate of the Thousand Hopes alliance in the elections to the Turkish Parliament in 2007, and was elected MP for Diyarbakir. She previously acted as a lawyer for Abdullah Öcalan.
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 as an Member of Parliament in the 12 June 2011 general election having run as an independent.
Sentences of 2007 and 2009
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.
Sentence of 2012
In June 2012 a court sentenced Aysel Tuğluk, an independent MP for Van and acting co-chair of the DTK, to 14 years and seven months in prison for ten separate speeches she delivered on the charges of "committing a crime on behalf of the armed terrorist organization PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) without being a member" and also for "making propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization."
The Diyarbakır Fourth Court for Serious Crimes convicted Tuğluk for speeches she delivered at 12 separate events she attended between 2007 and 2010.
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" and six years and three months for "committing a crime on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member of it."
Her lawyers Fethi Gümüş and Sedat Yurtdaş did not agree with the prosecutor's accusation from 19 October 2011 and defended Tuğluk saying she had delivered her speeches acting 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, she got convicted due to 10 other speeches she made.
The court as well decided against suspending the sentence in order to impose alternative sanctions. The defendant side has already appealed the verdict at the Supreme Court of Appeals, lawyer Gümüş told Bianet.
Sentences of 2018
On the 26 December 2016 she was arrested again and in January 2018 sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison for “Opposing the law on rallies and demonstrations".In March 2018 she was sentenced to another 10 years in prison for being a "leader of a terror organization". It was argued that she took orders from Abdullah Öcalan, (who was her client while she defended him as a lawyer), made statements to media outlets close to the PKK and attended funerals of terrorists. She denied being a member of a terrorist organization and that she was only member of the DTK and the HDP, which are not terror organizations.
- Official website of the DTP (in Turkish language)
- "Aysel Tuğluk, 7 Politicians Arrested". Bianet.
- "DTP also to blame in Kurdish problem". Hurriyet Daily News. 2009-07-29. Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- Zengin, Nilüfer (30 January 2007). "Meet Our Women Parliamentarians". Binet.
- News report at Sunday's Zaman Archived July 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- "YSK kesin sonuçları açıkladı". MİLLİYET HABER - TÜRKİYE'NİN HABER SİTESİ. Retrieved 2019-04-03.
- "Kurdish MP sentenced to jail". Kathimerini. 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-08-14.[permanent dead link]
- Today's Zaman, 9 Feb 2009: "Tuğluk case risks turning into another Zana scandal"[permanent dead link]. 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. Archived from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- "Article on Bianet". Archived from the original on 2012-09-20. Retrieved 2012-06-22.
- "HDP Deputy Co-Chair Tuğluk Sentenced to 1.5 Years in Prison". Bianet. 2 January 2018.
- TurkeyPurge (2018-03-17). "Pro-Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk given 10-year prison sentence". Turkey Purge. Retrieved 2019-01-19.