Thursday, June 22, 2006

56 mayors face trial over a letter

The Times June 20, 2006

56 mayors face trial over a letter
By a Correspondent
A Turkish court intends to try dozens of mayors in the predominantly Kurdish southeast over a letter that they sent to the Danish Prime Minister, in a case that could harm Ankara's campaign to join the EU.

The court accepted a state prosecutor's charge that the 56 mayors had "knowingly and willingly" helped Kurdish rebels when they urged Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the Danish leader, not to close Roj TV, a Danish-based Kurdish broadcaster. If convicted, the mayors face up to ten years in jail. Turkey accuses Roj TV of being a mouthpiece of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), which seeks to create an ethnic homeland.

Mr Rasmussen said at an EU summit in Brussels last week that trying the mayors over the letter would contravene the values of the EU. (Reuters)