Ex-Kurdish party lawmaker seeks political asylum in Greece

A pro-Kurdish former lawmaker convicted of insulting Turkey's president has requested asylum in Greece after illegally crossing the border
Friday, 24 August 2018 20:44

A former lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) has requested asylum in Greece after fleeing Turkey in violation of conditional prison release terms and illegally crossing the border, Greek authorities said Friday.

Turkish citizen Leyla Birlik, 44, was released pending the asylum process. 

She was sentenced in January to 21 months' imprisonment for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Birlik was freed pending appeal but banned from leaving Turkey.

She had also been arrested in 2016 along with the HDP co-leaders on separate terror-related charges. Birlik's parliamentary immunity was lifted in May 2016, on accusations of making "terror" propaganda." 

Ankara considers the HDP to have links to the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), designated as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies, including the United States and the European Union.

Athens and Ankara have lately clashed over Turkish demands that Greece extradite eight Turkish soldiers wanted over the July 2016 attempted coup aimed at unseating President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.