Kurdish party leader, jailed in Turkey, to step down

AP News
Posted: Jan 04, 2018 11:43 AM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The jailed co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition will step down during a party congress next month.

Selahattin Demirtas announced his decision not to seek another term at the Feb. 11 congress in a letter made public by his Peoples' Democratic Party, or HDP, on Thursday.

The popular politician was jailed along with close to a dozen other HDP lawmakers last year. Prosecutors are seeking a total of 142 years in prison for him on charges of leading a terror organization, engaging in terror propaganda and other crimes. He denies the accusations.

In a related development Thursday, a court convicted HDP legislator Idris Baluken on charges of membership in a terror group and engaging in terror propaganda and sentenced him to 16 years in prison. Baluken is expected to appeal.