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Ankara court summons Kurdish leaders

ANKARA, Turkey, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- A criminal court in Ankara issued a summons for four members of an outlawed pro-Kurdish political party because of alleged links to a Kurdish terrorist group.

A court Tuesday summoned the top leaders of the banned Democratic Society Party, including party leader Ahmet Turk, because of allegations they were acting in support of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

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Aysel Tugluk, the former deputy of the banned political party, is accused of speaking in support of the PKK, a designated terrorist group, during a holiday speech in 2007.

A constitutional court in early December banned the Democratic Society Party, or DTP, because of concerns it was acting as the political wing of the PKK. Turk and Tugluk were both banned from politics for five years by the court.

Several of the leaders in the DTP later joined forces with the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, on the advice of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Authorities searched BDP headquarters in Ankara for the four DTP leaders but were unable to locate them, Turkey's Hurriyet daily newspaper reports.

Court officials said they would haul the pro-Kurdish leaders before a judge by force if needed.

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The DTP ban struck a blow to Ankara's push for a political solution to lingering issues with the Kurdish minority. Pro-Kurdish groups demonstrated during the weekend in Istanbul and in the Kurdish south as tensions over the ban escalated.

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