Kurdish Mayor Suspended from Office on Charges of Aiding PKK
Turkish authorities have suspended from office a mayor from the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HADEP) who stands accused of aiding armed Kurdish rebels, a party official told AFP Sunday.
"On Saturday, the interior ministry suspended from office Ferman Ozer, the mayor of Semdinli town" in Hakkari province in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast, HADEP deputy chairman Hamit Geylani said.
Ozer was briefly detained in October on charges of aiding the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and then released pending trial.
The first hearing in the case was scheduled for January 9.
The interior ministry's decision was "arbitrary and illegal" as the evidence was insufficient even to keep Ozer in custody, Geylani said.
The charges against the mayor were based on untrue revelations by informers and tapes of telephone conversations between other suspects in a similar case, he added.
"We demand that the Semdinli mayor is immediately reinstated," Geylani said.
In the 1999 elections, HADEP won a string of town halls in the southeast, but failed to enter parliament because it remained under a 10-percent national threshold.
Geylani said that Ozer's suspension from office was the latest move in a campaign of "threatening and bullying" HADEP mayors since the 1999 polls.
HADEP, which favors a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish conflict and recognition of Kurdish cultural rights, faces a possible ban for alleged links to the PKK, considered a terrorist group by Ankara.
The party denies the charges -- ANKARA (AFP)
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