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Turkish Mayor Sacked for Providing Municipal Services in Four Languages

ANKARA -- Turkey's Council of State ruled Thursday to dismiss a major of a district of the south eastern city of Diyarbakir because the municipality provided services in languages other than Turkish.

Abdullah Demirbas, the mayor of the Sur district of Diyarbakir, was ordered to be dismissed from office and the Sur municipal council removed.

The ruling from the Council of State, Turkey's highest administrative court, stemmed from a complaint lodged by the Interior Ministry over the provision of multi-lingual services by the municipality.

The Sur municipality was providing official services in Turkish, Kurdish, English and Syriac.

The Diyarbakir chief prosecutor demanded that Demierbas and Diyarbakir metropolitan mayor Osman Baydemir both be sentenced to a prison term of three and a half years.

The board of judges voted unanimously in favour of dismissing Demierbas and the council on basis that practices of providing multi language services as a municipality was not within municipal rights under the constitution, other laws and as well as the European Local Administration Autonomy Laws.

Twenty-one defendants of the court case are facing jail terms of three and a half years each.

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