Dozens of mayors arrived at court in Turkey, to face charges over a letter they sent to Denmark’s Prime Minister. The mayors – from the country’s largest Kurdish party – had urged the Premier not to close the offices of the Kurdish broadcaster Roj TV in Denmark. Prosecutors had charged the 56 mayors with “knowingly and willingly” helping Kurdish rebels, an offence punishable by 15 years in jail.
Turkey accuses Roj TV of being a mouthpiece of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK, which is fighting for an ethnic homeland in the country. Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen says the trial over the letter contravenes EU values. Turkey, which began membership talks last October, has been criticised for its slow pace of reform. A week ago, the government came under fire for a law allowing prosecutors to charge intellectuals for insulting ‘Turkishness’.