Kars mayor indicted on terrorism charges for role at now-closed Kurdish daily

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Spokesperson of Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Ayhan Bilgen. /AFP

A Turkish prosecutor on Monday indicted Kars Mayor Ayhan Bilgen, a Kurdish politician from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), on terrorism charges due to his role as a member of the advisory board of the now-closed Özgür Gündem daily.

According to the Artı Gerçek news website, the İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court accepted the indictment and sent it to the İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court to be merged with the Özgür Gündem case.

Bilgen was investigated by the prosecutor in the Özgür Gündem case, which started around 2016 when the daily was closed by the government; however, he could not be prosecuted due to immunity laws protecting him while he was a member of parliament.

The trial of nine journalists and human rights activists from the Kurdish daily’s advisory board is still pending.

Bilgen, a former spokesperson for the HDP, was elected co-mayor of Kars on March 31.

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