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Turkey arrests pro-Kurdish mayor

IGDIR, Turkey, Jan. 21 (UPI) -- Authorities in the southeastern Turkish province of Igdir arrested nine members of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democratic Party on Thursday, including a mayor.

Turkish authorities have rounded up scores of pro-Kurdish political leaders in recent weeks on charges they delivered speeches in support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, listed as a terrorist organization in Ankara and Washington.

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Security forces on Thursday detained nine Peace and Democracy Party members, including Mayor Mehmet Nuri Gunes, for alleged ties to terrorist organizations in Turkey, English-language daily newspaper Hurriyet reports.

Ankara in 2009 pushed for a political solution to lingering issues with the Kurdish minority by offering cultural concessions and amnesty to certain members of the community.

A court decision to ban the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, from politics, however, created tensions among many Kurdish officials who complained the suppression ran contrary to democratic principles.

Authorities in December summoned top DTP officials, including party leader Ahmet Turk, because of allegations they were speaking in support of the PKK.

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