London

Teenager left London to fight with PKK, court hears

An 18-year-old who allegedly travelled to Turkey to fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) told her family she was "happy to become a militant", a court has heard.

Silhan Ozcelik made the remarks in a letter, the Old Bailey heard.

She left the note for her family before travelling to Brussels using a one-way ticket, the Old Bailey heard.

Ms Ozcelik, from north London, denies a single charge of preparing to commit acts of terrorism.

The defendant, of Highbury Quadrant, Holloway, is accused of travelling to Brussels on 27 October 2014 and then attempting to join the guerrilla army.

'Protest trip'

PKK, which is proscribed as a terrorist group by UK authorities, is fighting against Islamic State in Syria.

Prosecutor Dan Pawson-Pounds warned the jury the case was not about Kurdish independence in Turkey.

Judge John Bevan told jurors there was a real danger of unfair prejudice in the case due to the terror attacks in Paris, which had "nothing whatsoever to do with the case we are about to try".

Ozcelik's 27-year-old brother Engin told the court he attended a protest with his sister about the Syrian conflict in Trafalgar Square weeks before her departure.

Mr Ozcelik said his sister never spoke of the PKK with him.

He said he had "more of a feeling that she had a boyfriend".

The trial continues.

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