A 47-year-old Kurdish bus driver has reportedly been sent to prison by a Turkish court for wearing a T-shirt bearing the words “Kurdistan,” According to a twitter account named @TurkeyUntold.
Mahmut Kahraman was initially detained by police in Turkish province of Ağrı early on Saturday, and later the same day a court jailed him in pre-trial detention on charges of “disseminating terrorist propaganda.”
Turkey – which has a large Kurdish population and is battling the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — is strongly opposed to an independent Kurdish state.
Iraq Kurdistan Regional Government (IKRG) President Massoud Barzani recently announced that the vote on whether to secede from Iraq would be held on Sept. 25.
On July 17, Turkey’s National Security Council [MGK] at a meeting stated that “the KRG’s referendum decision will not be able to be put into practice either de jure or de facto.”
On August 16, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called on the semi-autonomous KRG to review a decision to hold an independence referendum on Sept. 25, warning that it could trigger a civil war in Iraq.
“Holding an independence referendum in a country that has so many problems may cause the current situation to deteriorate. God forbid, that could lead to a civil war,” said Çavuşoğlu in his statement, reminding that the KRG took the decision despite the fact that Turkey has said it is against it.