Friday, September 19, 2008
Diyabakır Mayor acquitted of publishing invitation cards in Kurdish
The mayor of the southeastern city of Diyarbakır was acquitted yesterday of charges of publishing the 6th Culture and Art Festival's invitation cards in Kurdish, Zaza, English and Armenian in addition to Turkish, the Anatolia news agency reported.
“Municipalities invite people to that kind of festival in languages other than Turkish,” said Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir's lawyer, Muharrem Erbey, in his defense. Many municipalities in Turkey organize that kind of festival, Erbey said and demanded Baydemir's acquittal, saying Baydemir's behavior illustrates his respect for Anatolian civilization.
Baydemir was tried for three-and-a-half years imprisonment on charges of “violating the prohibitions specified within the law on the Turkish alphabet and its applications,” according to article 222 of the Turkish penal code, and “misconduct in office” because he financed the cards from the municipality's budget. The court found Baydemir innocent on both counts and acquitted him.