Kurdish poet and author Fadıl Öztürk taken into custody in Izmir

A Turkish anti-terror unit has arrested the Kurdish poet and author Fadıl Öztürk in Izmir. The 68-year-old's spouse was also taken into custody.

A Turkish police anti-terror unit has arrested the Kurdish poet and author Fadıl Öztürk. The 68-year-old was taken into custody in Izmir on Friday as part of investigations by the public prosecutor's office in the Aegean metropolis, his lawyer said.

Öztürk is suspected of having spread "terrorist propaganda" in columns for the anti-government internet portal Artı Gerçek and on social networks. Öztürk's wife, Berrin Biçek, was also arrested on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda.

This is not the first time that Fadıl Öztürk has been targeted by the Turkish justice system. He was in prison for the first time in the wake of the military coup of 1980. At that time, the Dersim-born poet was sentenced to life imprisonment in the trial against the left-wing Devrimci Yol (Revolutionary Way, also Dev-Yol), a political movement that existed from 1977 to 1985 . After ten years in prison, which were characterized by torture, he was released.

In 2018, Öztürk was arrested once in connection with the texts he wrote for Artı Gerçek and was later sentenced to almost two years in prison for alleged terrorist propaganda, which was suspended for five years under conditions. This probation has not yet expired.

Öztürk and Biçek are currently being held in the anti-terror headquarters of the Izmir Police Headquarters. After the interrogation is completed, the couple will be transferred to the Izmir Public Prosecutor's Office.