Friday, the Supreme Court of Appeals approved a court's decision to send the husband of pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Figen Yüksekdağ, Sedat Şenoğlu, to prison for seven years and six months due to acts linked to the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) terrorist organization.
The Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office had previously opened a trial for 26 senior leaders of the MLKP for being involved in 155 terrorist acts in 2005 and 2006. After being in jail for about six years, Şenoğlu was released in 2012 due to a High Criminal Court decision that considered the time of imprisonment, and he fled Turkey.
In 2012, Yüksekdağ's close connections with the MLKP and its affiliate Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) were revealed. In a closed-door commemorative meeting for an MLKP-linked suicide bomber who was killed in an attempt to attack a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) building in Istanbul in 2012, Yüksekdağ said: "We have taken many lives and have lost many lives" in our "revolutionary march in this country." Yüksekdağ's statement was wiretapped by court decision.
She also attended the funeral of MLKP terrorists Şirin Öter and Yeliz Erbay, who were killed in a dawn raid in December by anti-terrorism police when they opened fire on police closing in on them in Istanbul's Gaziosmanpaşa district.
Yüksekdağ also drew heavy criticism for her alleged pro-PKK stance in remarks. "We support on the YPJ [Women's Protection Units], the YPG [People's Protection Units] and the PYD [Democratic Union Party], and we do not see any harm in mentioning and defending it," she said last July. Yüksekdağ also praised the PKK and described it as "a national liberation movement and also an organization that stands for democracy and equality." A summary of proceedings was prepared after her remarks.
The MLKP, established in 1994, is a designated terrorist organization. Its first major attack was in 2004 when a bomb planted by MLKP militants on a street near a hotel where then U.S. President George W. Bush was staying exploded, injuring several people.
The MLKP, unlike the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), has close ties with the PKK, which pursues a more ultranationalist line. The group had training camps in a mountainous area in Northern Iraq where the PKK is headquartered.
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