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Kurdish historical figure’s family files complaint against far-right party leader for insult

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The family of Sheikh Said, who led a Kurdish nationalist rebellion against the new Republic of Turkey in 1925 and was executed along 46 others as a result, has filed a criminal complaint against far-right, anti-refugee Victory Party (ZP) leader Ümit Özdağ for insulting the historical figure, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Tuesday.

The complaint against Özdağ was filed after he referred to Sheikh Said, an important leader in history for Kurds, as “a dog” in a tweet on Aug. 14 in an argument with a lawyer, a move that drew criticism and condemnation from a number of Kurdish social media users.

The complaint against the VP leader, which was filed with the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office by the Sheikh Said Education Culture and Solidarity Association and the Diyarbakır Bar Association, accused the VP leader of “insulting the memory of a person,” DW said.

Sheikh Said

Kasım Fırat, head of the Sheikh Said Education Culture and Solidarity Association and the first generation grandchild of Sheikh Said, also sued Özdağ for five kuruş in non-pecuniary damages, according to DW.

The Sheikh Said rebellion, which was led by Sheikh Said against the newly founded Turkish Republic in 1925 with the support of the Kurdish secret organization Azadî, was described as “the first large-scale nationalist rebellion by the Kurds” by academic Robert W. Olson in his book “The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism and the Sheikh Said Rebellion, 1880-1925.”

The uprising was suppressed within the same year, with over 7,000 people prosecuted by independence tribunals and more than 600 executed. The Independence Tribunal in Diyarbakir imposed a death sentence on Sheikh Said and 46 other rioters on June 28, 1925, and the executions were carried out the next day.

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