The First Van Heavy Penal Court has on Monday sentenced the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) mayor of Turkey’s eastern province Van to 15 years imprisonment on charges that he has connections with the PKK’s umbrella organisation, the KCK.
The PKK is registered as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU.
Van metropolitan municipality co-mayor Bekir Kaya and 12 other administrators of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is the predecessor to the HDP, were arrested after being detained during security operations against the KCK in the province on June 7, 2012.
However, the court decided to release all of the defendants in 2013.
In its latest hearing, the court decided to give prison sentences of between 7-to-15 years to the thirteen party officials including the metropolitan mayor, according to Turkish media reports.
The KCK allegedly operates in several countries including Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria and is speculated to be an outline for a so-called "democratic confederalism," theorised by the PKK’s imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan.
HDP co-chairman Selahattin Demirtas and several HDP-aligned mayors recently made declarations in support of "democratic autonomy" in Turkey's eastern and southeastern provinces.
The Ankara chief public prosecutor's office last Monday launched a probe against Demirtas over his remarks.
The probe falls under the crimes against constitutional order statute of the Turkish Penal Code.