Trial Starts in Turkey for Foreign Activists

ISTANBUL (Reuters)–A Turkish court on Tuesday began trying 18 people–14 of them foreigners–for holding an unauthorized meeting calling for a peaceful end to Turkey’s long-running Kurdish conflict.

Anatolian news agency said that the accused could face between one and three years in jail for giving an impromptu news conference in an Istanbul hotel in early September. Turkish police with truncheons broke up the meeting and arrested many of the activists.

The court adjourned the case to an unspecified date–the agency said.

The group–mostly Germans–was part of an abortive trans-European "peace train," organized by a pro-Kurdish group in Germany. They were prevented by police from demonstrating in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

More than 27,000 people have died in 13 years of fighting between Turkish security forces and Kurdish rebels fighting for self-rule in the southeast.


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