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Turkey Begins Trial Of Kurdish Mayors

(RFE/RL) September 26, 2006 -- More than 50 Kurdish mayors went on trial in Turkey today on charges of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization.

The charges relate to their efforts to keep a Kurdish television station on the air in Denmark. The trial is seen as the latest test of freedom of speech in Turkey, which wants to join the European Union.

Turkish prosecutors claim the Roj television station in Denmark is a mouthpiece for Kurdish rebels.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged that Turkey would stick to the path of democratic reform following EU criticism that Ankara was failing to ensure freedom of speech.

Erdogan said the country is determined to keep up the reform process without losing enthusiasm.

(AQP, Reuters, AFP)