U.K. Woman Sentenced to 21 Months in Jail on Terrorism Charge

  • 18-year-old with Kurdish heritage wanted to join PKK
  • Silhan Ozcelik bought a one-way train ticket to Brussels

An 18-year-old British woman with Kurdish heritage was sentenced to 21 months in jail after a jury found her guilty of traveling to the continent in an effort to join a terrorist group in Turkey, London police said.

Silhan Ozcelik was 17 when she intended to join up with the Kurdistan Workers Party, a banned terrorist group known as the PKK, telling her parents in a letter that she dreamed “about becoming a guerrilla," police said in a statement.

Ozcelik traveled to Brussels on a one-way train ticket but returned from Germany in January and was detained by police. She was charged with preparing to commit acts of terrorism. The PKK fights for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey’s southeast, and is a so-called proscribed organization in the U.K.

The sentencing comes as British police have on average arrested a terrorist suspect a day over the last 12 months in a bid to prevent a domestic attack similar to the one that left at least 129 people dead on the streets of Paris last week.

"We continue to remain concerned about the number of young women and girls being drawn into all forms of terrorism," Commander Richard Walton, head of London police’s counter terrorism command, said in a statement. "We urge parents and families to talk to us at the earliest opportunity if they have concerns about any girl or women being enticed into supporting terrorist groups like the PKK or Islamic State."

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