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"Alternatif" newspaper accused of violating press law, shut down for one month

(Antenna-TR/IFEX) - The Istanbul High Criminal Court No. 9 has seized copies of "Alternatif" newspaper and has suspended its publication for one month. The paper, which began publishing in May 2008, is accused of violating Article 25/2 of the Press Law for "publishing the statements of the PKK/KONGRA-GEL organisation".

The court deemed that two of the reports published in the newspaper - a statement by PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) leader Abdullah Öcalan entitled, "They can talk with DTP for a solution", and a statement by leading member Murat Karayilan entitled, "Defend your mother tongue" - were offensive. Öcalan was reported to have said that he had been given disciplinary punishments for inciting people with his messages, and he had warned people against cultural genocide. Karayilan was quoted as saying that he supported those who protested "the ban on the use of the mother tongue" (Kurdish) and the "policies of cultural genocide."

Following the seizure of "Alternatif" newspaper, another periodical, the monthly "Kizillasan Özgür Halk", was closed down for a month by the Istanbul High Criminal Court on the grounds of "making propaganda for an illegal organisation".

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