ALSO READTurkey pro-Kurdish party's ex-leader tried on 'terror' charges US relations damaged by Washington's links to Kurdish militias: Turkey Turkey arrests 61 people over suspected terror links Turkey: French national arrested for links to Kurdish group 11 activists charged in Turkey over alleged terror links
Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party leader goes on trial in Ankara today over alleged links to Kurdish militants, after spending more than a year behind bars in a case his supporters say is politically motivated. Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), was first detained in November last year in a crackdown under the state of emergency that followed 2016's failed coup. Before his arrest Demirtas was considered one of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's major rivals, a silky orator who has succeeded in bringing his party from the fringe into the political mainstream. The HDP co-leader, 44, is charged with "managing a terror organisation", "making propaganda for a terror group", "inciting criminal acts" and more.
He faces up to 142 years in prison if convicted. Demirtas -- who is being held in prison in the northwestern region of Edirne, well away from his Kurdish heartland -- is not expected to appear in the first hearing of his trial in Ankara. The HDP has denounced a letter it claimed the justice ministry sent to all courts prosecuting Demirtas, telling them not to allow the charismatic leader to appear in court.
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