Friday, November 25, 2005

Kurdish party slams Turkish bid to ban Kurdish TV station

ANKARA, Nov 25 (AFP) - 11h53 - Turkey's main Kurdish party appealed Friday to the Danish government to resist Ankara's bid to have a Denmark-based Kurdish TV station banned for alleged links to armed Kurdish rebels.
"The demand to have Roj TV banned is a move to prevent the Kurdish people's right to receive news in their own language. It is not possible to reconcile this initiative with freedom of press and expression," the Democratic Society Party (DTP) wrote in a letter to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Describing the Turkish government's move as "unacceptable", DTP leaders wrote that it was a "contradiction" for Turkey to seek a ban on Roj TV at a time when it must improve its rights record to gain entry into the European Union.
Turkey has asked the Danish authorities to revoke Roj TV's broadcasting license on grounds that it has ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), an armed group considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week refused to attend a press conference during a visit to the Danish capital Copenhagen because Roj TV reporters were present.
Ankara charges that the channel, on the air since March 2004, incites hatred by openly supporting the PKK.
Denmark's broadcasting watchdog ruled at the beginning of the year that Roj TV's programming contained no incitement to hatred of Turkey and Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller said Monday that he had seen no proof of the station's links to the PKK.
Ankara's move against Roj TV comes at a time of increasing violence in mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey, where more than 37,000 people have died since 1984, when the PKK launched an armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in the region.