Former Mardin mayor and Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ahmet Türk was released under judicial control upon a court's decision on Friday.
Türk was detained on Nov. 21, 2016 as part of the ongoing terror probe on links between the PKK terrorist organization and the Peoples' Democratic HDP municipalities. He was also suspended from his duty as Mardin Metropolitan Mayor on Nov. 17 prior to his arrest. Türk's trial will resume without arrest.
HDP officials and his lawyers repeatedly asked for his release, stating that the 79-year-old was suffering from ill health, despite the forensics report suggested the contrary.
In a surprising move, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli called for Türk's release on Jan. 12, while Republican People's Party's (CHP) Istanbul deputy Şafak Pavey also called for his release upon a jail visit on Dec. 30.
Coming from a prominent Kurdish family in southeastern province of Mardin, Türk's political career started at the centrist Democratic Party (DP), where he briefly served as Mardin deputy after the 1973 elections. Prior to the elections of 1974, he served as Mardin deputy for two terms until the military coup in 1980. He was jailed after the coup and suffered from torture at the infamous Diyarbakır Prison.
Following the removal of political bans in 1987, Türk returned to Parliament as Mardin deputy from CHP's successor Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP). Türk was among the founders of People's Labor Party (HEP), which later evolved into a series of parties facing judicial prosecution and closures for their links with the PKK terrorist group, with the latest one being the HDP. He was among 18 deputies that split ffrom SHP and joined HEP. Türk was elected as HEP's chairman in 1992, but was banned from politics when the party was closed by the Constitutional Court in 1993. As its chairman, he led the Democratic Society Party-affiliated (DTP) independent candidates to Parliament in the 2007 general elections.
Following DTP's closure in 2009, Türk was not among the leading cadres that founded the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and its successor HDP, but still remained active in politics. In 2011, Türk was again elected asMardin deputy from BDP-affiliated independents' list. In the 2014 local elections, he ran for the mayor post in a bid to score a win for the BDP against incumbent Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Mardin, where he won by receiving 52 percent of the votes and resigned from Parliament.
Türk is known as a moderate figure in the pro-Kurdish political line.
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