Turkish students given suspended jail sentences over 2018 Syria protest

03.02.2020

An Istanbul court on Friday sentenced 27 students from the country's top-ranking university to nearly a year in jail over 2018 protests against a Turkish military operation in northern Syria, state news agency Anadolu reported.

The court case is against 30 defendants, all of them from Istanbul's Bogazici University. The 27 were charged with spreading terrorist propaganda for the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Anadolu said.

Ankara labels the PKK, which is waging a decades-old insurgency in Turkey, and the YPG as two linked terrorist groups.

The court suspended the sentence of 10 months for 20 students. It converted the prison sentence for the other seven to a fine of 6,000 Turkish liras (1,000 dollars).

In March 2018, a group of pro-government students at Bogazici staged a rally in support of Turkey's offensive against the YPG militias in the northern Syrian enclave of Afrin. A rival student group then staged a protest, carrying banners denouncing war.

The peace protests angered Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who back then labelled the students as "terrorist youth", threatening to "do what is necessary."    (dpa)

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