Saturday, January 07, 2006

Turkish private TV channels set to begin Kurdish broadcasts

ANKARA, Dec 29 (AFP) - 10h15 - Privately owned Turkish television networks will be allowed to start broadcasting in the Kurdish language in January, a belated move two years after the government authorised the reform, the Turkish audiovisual watchdog RTUK said Thursday.

Several networks have applied to RTUK for permission for Kurdish broadcasts and those who fulfill the required conditions will be given the go-ahead, said a RTUK official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

"Broadcasting permission will be granted as of January to networks who have handed in the necessary documents," the official said.

In a ground-breaking move to ease the country's entry into the European Union, Turkey's parliament adopted in August 2002 a set of reforms allowing state radio and television (TRT) to broadcast in Kurdish.

When TRT initially resisted the move, the government in 2003 gave the green light to private radio and television networks to broadcast in Kurdish as well.

It was only last year that TRT finally began broadcasts in Kurdish and three other minority languages in an effort to impress the EU ahead of a critical summit on Turkey's future bid for membership in the bloc.

Expanding cultural rights -- especially for the Kurds estimated to number between 10 to 15 million -- is a key condition for the Ankara government which in October began membership talks with the EU.