Pro Kurdish Mayors Face Charges in South Turkey

DIYARBAKIR (Reuters)–More than 50 mayors in southeast Turkey could face criminal charges after sending a letter to Denmark’s prime minister urging him not to shut down a pro-Kurdish television station–officials said yesterday. Turkey says Copenhagen-based Roj TV is a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)–which Ankara blames for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since it began an armed campaign for a Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey in 1984.

In their letter–56 mayors urged Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to resist pressure from Ankara to close down Roj TV–saying it would hurt the needs of their people for Kurdish language broadcasting. "The chief prosecutor’s office will decide whether to launch an investigation after examining the full letter," an official told Reuters in Diyarbakir–the main city of Turkey’s southeast.

"If a crime is found to have been committed–an investigation will be opened against the mayors for promoting an illegal organization and for praising the crime and the criminal," the official said.


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