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Kurdish politician acquitted of terrorism charges that led to his removal from office

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Prominent Kurdish politician Ahmet Türk, who was ousted from his position as co-mayor of the Mardin Municipality in southeastern Turkey in August 2019, has been acquitted of terrorism charges that were used as a pretext for his removal from office, according to Turkish media reports.

Türk is among the dozens of mayors who were elected in the March 31, 2019 local elections from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) but were later removed from their posts on terrorism charges.

In the latest hearing of his trial at the Mardin 3rd High Criminal Court on Friday, Türk was acquitted of charges of spreading the propaganda of a terrorist organization, namely the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Türk was facing the terrorism charges for attending the funeral ceremony of a Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militant in the Mazıdağı district of Mardin in 2015. Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

The court ruled for Türk’s acquittal on the grounds that the elements of a crime did not exist.

Mazıdağı District Co-mayor Necla Yıldırım, who was also facing the same charges in the same trial, has also been acquitted.

Kurdish politicians, particularly members of the HDP, are often accused by Turkish government officials of having ties to the PKK.

Armed clashes between Turkey’s security forces and the PKK picked up in the summer of 2015 after a brief pause during which the two sides held peace talks.

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