Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Kurdish mayors on trial in Turkey

Fifty-six Kurdish mayors have gone on trial in Turkey, charged with aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation. They were indicted after writing to the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, asking him not to close down the Denmark-based, Kurdish Roj TV station. The mayors, all members of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Social Party (DTP), are charged by state prosecutors with "knowingly and willingly" helping Kurdish rebels.

Mr. Rasmussen has expressed his shock that such a trial could take place in a country seeking EU membership, "I find it rather shocking... that because you write a letter to me, you are being accused of violating the law..." Despite strong pressure from Ankara to revoke Roj TV's licence, the Danish government has refused to do so, citing freedom of speech. In November 2005, Turkey's prime minister, Tayyip Erdogan, walked out of a press conference in Copenhagen because Roj-TV had been allowed to cover it.

Full text from the BBC


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