Acquittal on “Multilingual Municipality Services” in Diyarbakır

The trial regarding the Sur Municipality’s decision for “Multilingual Municipality Services” resulted in the acquittal of Sur District Mayor DemirbaÅŸ, Diyarbakır Metropolitan Mayor Baydemir and 19 members of the municipality council.

Emir ÇELÄ°K Diyarbakır – BÄ°A News Center04 February 2011, Friday Osman Baydemir, Mayor of the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, Abdullah DemirbaÅŸ, Mayor of the Sur District, and members of the Sur Municipality Council were acquitted in the case regarding “Multilingual Municipality Services”. In 2007, the Sur Municipality, belonging to the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır in south-eastern Turkey, had decided to offer municipality services in Turkish and English as well as Armenian, Kurdish and Syriac as languages spoken in the region.

The hearing before the Diyarbakır 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance was attended by District Mayor DemirbaÅŸ, some of the municipality council members who were deposed from office and their legal advisors. The prosecutor said in his final plea that the decision for “Multilingual Municipality Services” did not constitute a breach of Article 222 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) on the “Approval and Implementation of Turkish Alphabetical Characters”. The prosecutor conveyed his opinion that the decision did not include any element of crime.

Prosecutor demanded acquittal of defendants
The prosecution drew attention to the fact that the trial was opened on the grounds of alleged “misconduct of office” by violating the law on alphabetical characters. According to the prosecutor, it was understood that there was no written decision in Arabic letters taken by the municipality council and that a harm of the public was out of the question. The prosecution demanded the defendants’ acquittal.

As reported by Günlük newspaper, the court board followed the prosecutor’s plea and decided for the acquittal of all defendants.

DemirbaÅŸ was elected mayor in 2004 with 56 percent of all votes. The State Council 8th Chamber deposed him from office after the decision for the “Multilingual Municipality Services”. In the course of the local elections on 29 March 2009, he was re-elected with 65.4 percent. (EÇ/EÖ/VK)