A prosecutor in the southeastern Anatolian
Prosecutor Muammer Özcan, in his nine-page closing arguments, asked thecourt to sentence 53 mayors to up to 15 years in prison each on charges ofaiding and abetting a terrorist group. The prosecutor asked the court to acquitthree other mayors.
The court adjourned the trial until May 8 at the requestof the defense lawyers for additional time to draw up their final defense. Themayors, who have pleaded innocent and said that their letter was an act of"free speech," are mostly from the pro-Kurdish Democratic SocietyParty (DTP).
The mayors -- including Diyarbakýr Mayor Osman Baydemir; Tunceli MayorSongül Erol Abdil, the sole female provincial mayor in the country, and HakkariMayor Metin Tekçe -- were indicted last year after writing a letter to DanishPrime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, asking him to keep Roj TV, which isbanned in Turkey, on the air in Denmark, despite claims by Turkey that it is apropaganda machine of the PKK.
None of the mayors charged were present at Tuesday's trial.
Özcan said that PKK leaders often join the station's broadcasts by satellitetelephone from their mountain hideouts in northern
Mayors who participated in the March 2004 local elections under the umbrellaof the Social Democratic People's Party (SHP) joined the DTP in December 2005in line with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's directives, Özcan also argued.
The DTP is often accused by authorities and mainstream politicians of havinglinks to the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the
Regarding the trial concerning Roj TV, the Justice Ministry last year sent astatement to the court in
In November 2005, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan angrily boycotted anews conference with Rasmussen to protest the presence of Roj TV reporters inthe room, but the Danish premier defended their presence by saying there wasextensive freedom of the press in his country.
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