Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Denmark is again in the front line of controversy

Dr Kristiina Koivunen

Vihreä Lanka 24th February 2006

Kurdish TV is testing the limits of freedom of expression

Denmark is again in the front line of controversy

News about little crown prince Christian and the royal family's happiness are such news which Danish people would prefer to be sent from their country. Instead, recent news shots from Denmark have shown a confused looking prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. He has regretted the excitement caused by the caricatures of Prophet Mohammad, but said that freedom of expression is one of the western basic rights and it cannot be limited. Little Denmark has became the outpost of freedom of expression.

At the end of last year, Denmark was also the target of very heavy pressure. At that time it came from Turkey. Although the government of Turkey is promising that it will increase the freedom of expression and the opportunities of mass communication in the Kurdish language, it is doing everything it can to force Denmark to close satellite channel Roj-TV, which sends television programmes for the Kurds from Denmark.

The demand for closing Roj-TV was the most important issue during the visit of prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Denmark last November. Erdogan behaved like a five year old child and refused to come to his own press meeting, as journalist, Günem Seneser, from Roj-TV was attending it.

Turkey demands the closing of Roj-TV, it claims that the TV channel has contacts with the Kurdistan Labour Party, PKK. Without any special reason at just that moment, PKK was put on the EU list of terrorist organisations in spring 2004, later than other organisations in the list.

The programmes of Roj-TV can be followed on the internet (www.roj.tv). Have a look at the programmes of a so-called "terrorist television"! How are they? A little boring perhaps, compared for example to programmes of al-Jazeera. There are long discussions in the studio, joined by viewers via telephone. Sometimes a singer, dressed in national costume, strikes up a song in the Kurdish language.

Roj-TV also airs a lot of news, often with open criticism towards the Turkish government and military. And this can be dangerous. Despite the fact that Turkish laws have been renewed according to the demands of the European Union, law 301 of the new penal code states that it is a criminal offense to insult Turkish identity. According to the public prosecutor, for example, author Orhan Pamuk insulted Turkish identity when he claimed, in an interview, that one million Armenians died in a genocide at the beginning of the 1900s. Finally Pamuk's court case was cancelled, as the massive international attention to it was very annoying to Turkey. But court cases of 160 other writers, journalists and activists still continue based on the new penal code.

In Turkey there has been campaigns in support of Roj-TV. At the end of December, 56 Kurdish mayors sent a letter to prime minister Rasmussen demanding Roj-TV be able to continue working in Denmark. The public prosecutor started immediately criminal investigations due to this letter. If it leads to the court, hopefully the EU will support the mayors as strongly as it supported Orhan Pamuk.

Roj-TV has stayed stubbornly on the air. The company follows the laws of EU as it is aware that the programmes are viewed permanently by the authorities. It would be strange if Denmark would close the Kurdish television after it has defended the right to publish caricatures which defame Islam. If jeering other religions is acceptable, according to the ideas of western freedom of expression, then television programmes sending news, folk dances and mother language education cannot be forms of terrorism.

Dr Kristiina Koivunen works as a freelance journalist. She completed her PhD thesis in Helsinki University 2002. Her doctoral dissertation "The Invisible War in North Kurdistan" is in internet: http://ethesis.helsinki.fi/julkaisut/val/sospo/vk/koivunen

Vihreä Lanka is the weekly newspaper of the Green League of Finland.

Kristiina Koivunen's book "Teetä Kurdistanissa" (Tea in Kurdistan) was published 2001 by a Finnish publishing company LIKE. This spring LIKE will publish her next book "Southeast Turkey for adventure travellers". These books are in Finnish language.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Answer given by Mr Olli Rehn


Answer given by Mr Rehn

on behalf of the Commission (25.1.2006)

The Commission considers that restrictions on freedom of expression can only be justified within the parameters laid out in Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights and elaborated in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. As the Commission notes in its 2005 Progress Report on Turkey [1] , "In assessing whether to bring cases which impinge on the right to freedom of expression, the judiciary should consider whether the expression incites violence, armed rebellion or enmity, what the capacity of the individual or group is to influence the public and what kind of opportunity the target of the expression has to respond." The Commission has expressed its concerns that practice in Turkey does not correspond with European standards, as some individuals expressing non-violent opinions have been prosecuted and convicted.

However, a number of Member States have put some limits to the freedom of expression inter alia on television stations which support terrorist activities.

As regards Roj TV, it is not for the Commission, but for the Member States, to assess whether this television station is, as the Turkish authorities have suggested, supporting the activities of the PKK (Kurdistan Worker's Party), an organisation included on the EU list of terrorist organisations. The Commission would not seek to prejudge the outcome of the investigation which, according to its information, is ongoing in Denmark.

Turkey's attempts to suppress freedom of expression in Denmark

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Parliamentary questions

29 November 2005: E-4410/05

WRITTEN QUESTION by Mogens Camre (UEN) to the Commission

Subject: Turkey's attempts to suppress freedom of expression in Denmark

On 12 October 2005, 10 Muslim countries, among them Turkey, sent a letter via their ambassadors to the Danish Prime Minister calling on the Danish Government to take measures against the Danish press because the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten had printed some drawings of Muhammad.

On 6 November, Turkey again attacked Denmark's constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression by demanding that measures be taken against the TV station, ROJ TV, which broadcasts news, films, entertainment, discussion programmes and children's programmes to Kurds in Denmark.

On 12 January 2005, the official Radio and Television Board received a complaint from the Turkish embassy concerning ROJ TV which it dismissed in a decision of 21 April 2005. The decision can be read on the Radio and Television Board's website at www.mediasekretariatet.dk/afgsatkabkortb.htm

In connection with the meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Copenhagen, the Turkish Prime Minister was on a visit to Denmark. During the visit, Turkey's attitude towards freedom of expression was once again on view. The Turkish and Danish Prime Ministers were to have held a joint press conference on 15 November 2005 but Prime Minister Erdogan boycotted the conference and left the Danish Parliament. The reason for doing so was that ROJ TV was represented by a journalist. Mr Erdogan wanted the Danish Prime Minister to exclude a journalist from a TV station which is completely legal in Denmark. Naturally, a prime minister in a democratic country has no right to do so, which the Prime Minister tried to explain to his Turkish colleague. He emphasised to the press that he had no wish to do so either.

Does the Commission find it acceptable that a country negotiating with the EU with a view to accession attempts to compel current Member States to introduce restrictions on their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression, and what does the Commission intend to do in response to Turkey's attempts to suppress freedom of expression in Denmark?

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Wired Magazine: Issue 14.01 – January 2006

Mustafa Özgen's borrowed Ford Turbo bumps along a Turkish dirt road, 13 miles from the border with Syria. Özgen rumbles past dilapidated houses, abandoned during the country's prolonged war with Kurdish separatists. In the back of his truck, satellite TV dishes are stacked neatly on their sides like silverware in a drawer. Özgen, a Kurd, is making the three-and-a half-hour journey to the village of Kocyigit. But he doesn't use its Turkish name; he insists on the Kurdish appellation, Rosat. Feelings are still a bit raw in southeastern Turkey.

A man wearing an oversize sports coat watches intently as Özgen's truck approaches. He has walked for hours to reach Rosat. When Özgen finally arrives, the man waves him to a halt. "I can't get Animal Planet," he says. "What's the new code? My kids are driving me crazy." Özgen leans out the window to give him two 16-digit codes. After a quick handshake, the man begins the long walk back to his village. "Sometimes they change the codes for channels so people can't watch them without a subscription," Özgen says later. "But I can always find them on the Internet."

Özgen, a door-to-door satellite TV salesman, is part of a new crop of entrepreneurs taking advantage of the repopu­lation of the Turkish countryside. In the process, he has become an unlikely ambassador of culture; the 35-year-old sees his work as more of a humanitarian effort than a capitalist venture. Until a few years ago, this delivery trip would have been illegal - Turkish military routinely destroyed dishes to keep the Kurds from watching TV in their own language. "Men here have gone through the military service and school. They know Turkish," Özgen explains. "But most women speak only Kurdish. They need Kurdish satellite TV." Imagine the Muslim women of Rosat, covered in full-length dresses that tie at the ankle, faces veiled in thin cotton scarves, kicking back with Animal Planet.

Of the 900 channels that Özgen's service beams in from northern Europe, five are broadcast in Kurdish, offering news, talk shows, and US documentaries. Roj TV is the most popular station in the region. It broadcasts in Kurmanji, the Kurdish dialect spoken there, and it is sometimes more reliable than Turkish news, especially on touchy topics like separatist movements that might otherwise go unreported.

Özgen pulls up to Yilmaz Acar's house. Before he cuts the engine, Acar's wife ducks inside. She returns with glasses of ayran (chilled diluted yogurt) and then disappears, as is the custom, until her husband has finished his business. Acar's place doesn't have a roof or windows, but he's willing to put off the purchase of those to buy a satellite dish. He makes just $260 a month from his small grocery store; it will take about a year to pay Özgen's $180 fee on the installment plan. Before today, he plugged his TV into his neighbor's satellite system. But, he says, he's tired of watching his friend channel surf.

In front of another house, Özgen grabs his leather bag and pulls out an access card. This is a special order. News isn't the only thing being beamed from Europe; pornography is, too. Özgen walks up to the front door and furtively slips the card to a middle-aged man, who quickly takes it and shuts the door. Some situations are delicate, and customers would rather not talk at length about their preferences. "People ask for things from a satellite salesman they wouldn't tell anyone else," he says. "I'm like a doctor."

- Thomas Galen Grove

Saturday, February 25, 2006

In suport of the best Kurdish TV, RojTV

I am writing these lines to give my full support to Roj TV, I believe this is the best time to support Denmark's decision to continue letting RojTV reporters be present at the press conferences rather than Turkish goverment leaders who deny all Kurdish rights in Turkey.

RojTV is the only Kurdish television which reaches out to all Kurds around the world and specfically in the countries where we Kurds exist.

European nations have always fought for freedom of speech and freedom of expression, one of the most fundamental vlaues of EU is freedom of expression. RojTV is one of the true voices of Kurdish people's voices. The EU and especailly the government of Denmark will be fully supported by Kurds and in my belief have the responisibility of continuing the protection of their fundamental value of freedom of expression by the Kurds against the oppressing Turkish government.

The legacy left from the Ottoman Empire for the current Turkish goverment and more specifically to AKP's government needs European pressure to be removed from our new world where everyone including us, Kurds have the right of freedom of speech and broadcasting in our mother language.

RojTV is playing a great role of letting the world know what Kurds are trying to say as we continue suffering from two of the axis of evil countries as defined by president Bush; Syria and Iran both, and the Turkish governement which is known for its very bad records of human rights.

RojTV is educating Kurds,
RojTV is broadcasting Kurdish voices,
RojTV is the symbol of freedom of expression of the Kurdish persecution,
RojTV is another TV built on Denmark's freedom of broadcast,
RojTV is unearthing Turkish governement's persecution that is why they don't like it.

I appeal to the people and governemnt of Denmark to uphold its brave decision of protecting freedom of expression and broadcast ask them to support RojTV


Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Public Prosecutor turns down police report on Roj-TV

Politiken , 22.02.2006

The Copenhagen Public Prosecutor has given up to decide whether charge shall be made against the controversial Kurdish TV-station Roj –TV. The material submitted about the TV-station is too thin-legged, says the Public Prosecutor.

By Steffen Boesen

The Copenhagen police is going to investigate once again the controversial TV-station Roj-TV.

This is clear after the Public Prosecutor of Copenhagen, Karsten Hjorth, has returned the case about the TV-station to the police because there is too little substance in the material about Roj-TV, which the Public Prosecutor to begin with received from the police.

"Thin-legged material"

Karsten Hjorth asks the police to make "a broader investigation of the TV-station and its programs" in order to get a general impression of Roj-TV.

The Public Prosecutor makes no secret of the fact that the material submitted by the police was far too thin-legged: "There is too little information in the material that I have received. It neither provides the basis for charging somebody nor for dropping the case. The case has not been adequately clarified" says Karsten Hjorth.

Prime Minister walked out of press conference

The Copenhagen police submitted, last year, the material to the Public Prosecutors office with a reference to the "principled character and the public interest" of the case.

Roj-TV came on everybody's lips following the episode last november when the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan walked out of a press conference with Prime Minister Fogh, because of the presence of a journalist from Roj-TV.

Turkey claims that the TV-station is funded by the Kurdish separatist movement PKK, which is registered on the EU list of terrorist organizations. Also the USA have put pressure on Denmark for having closed down the offices of the TV-station located in central Copenhagen.

The Dansih branch of the TV-station denies completely to be funded by PKK.

In a month's time

The Public Prosecutor has not decreed any term for when the Copenhagen police must have completed its renewed investigation. But he expects to receive once again the case within the lapse of one month.

Several prominent members of the opposition following the intermezzo with Erdogan have stood up for Roj-TV and elaborated a declaration in support of the right of freedom of expression of the TV-station.

In this declaration it is emphasized that Denmark ought not to submit to pressure neither from the USA nor from Turkey in the case of a TV-station that has a license to transmit from Denmark.

The case of the Kurdish TV-station pops up once again when Turkey has been mentioned as a possible mediator in the in the Muhamed crisis between forces in the Arab world and parts of the Western world.

Translated from Danish into English

A new concept from Turkish Government against Roj TV

ANKARA (21.02.2006)- Turkish Government, which is not satisfied with its attempts to closing down Danish based Kurdish television Roj TV, is planning new strategy against Roj TV.

The action plan consists of 61 articles which was finalised by the High Commission of Struggle with Terror (TMYK), will prosecute every person who participate in Roj TV programs, either by phone or visit their studios in Europe. According to TMYK's action plan these trials will be held on Turkish soil.

Principally it is stipulated to accuse the offenders with terror charges. This will include any politician, academician, writer, singers, artist to ordinary citizens who break the new legislation.

The Turkey 's aggression against Roj TV caused enormous reaction from international media, whilst hundreds of famous intellectuals, artists and politicians have been sending letters to Danish Government to reconsider any closure of Kurdish Television ROJ TV.

Source: www.kurdishinfo.com

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

NTV/MSNBC - "Broadcasts in Kurdish on private channels to start in March":

Allowing broadcasts in languages other than Turkish was one of the requirements set by the European Union.

ANKARA / 20 February 2006

Turkey's media watchdog has announced that broadcasts in the Kurdish language may commence in March on private radio and television stations.

Previously, the only broadcasts in Kurdish was a limited service on state media, introduced more than one year ago.

However, following a meeting of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) on Monday, it was announced that owners of private broadcasters could begin transmissions in Kurdish next month, after completing the necessary documentation and being granted permission.

Under existing Turkish legislation that came into force late last year, only radio and television networks with national coverage would be allowed to broadcast in languages other than Turkish.

However, Monday's announcement means that regional stations will also be able to apply to broadcast in Kurdish in their local areas.

Source : flash Bulletin

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dr. Bert Cornillie , A researcher at the University of Leuven – Belgium


Broadcasting in Kurdish is an absolute necessity for millions of Kurdish citizens in Turkey and elsewhere. The Kurds have long enough been deprived of political and cultural freedom. Western powers brokered the Treaty of Lausanne back in 1923, which subsequently led to the denial of ethnic minorities in Turkey. It is now the moral duty of Europe to allow the oppressed minorities to develop their cultural and political activities. That Roj TV has a quasi monopoly on Kurdish broadcasting is due to the harsh cultural policy of the Turkish State. By no means European member states should follow or support the same humiliating restrictions. Thus, Roj TV must keep on working in Denmark and the EU.

Dr. Bert Cornillie is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leuven. He is co-author and co-editor of The Kurds between Europe and Turkey (2001) and In the Shadow of Saddam. The Kurdish Experiment in Iraq (2003). Both publications are in Dutch.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Mr. Abdollah Shekarchi has the following to say in support of ROJ TV

The history of relationship of the Turkish Government and it's large Kurdish population has been one of oppression, brutality, and total disregard for Kurds' basic human rights over the past century.

Roj TV is providing a wonderful platform for political discourse and cultural awareness for the Kurds across the globe, and in particular the many millions of Kurds in the Middle East and the greater Kurdistan.

It is no surprise that, continuing with it's past bad behavior the Turkish Government is using all its leverage to silence Roj TV, to hinder and suppress any expression of the Kurdish cultural heritage, and furthering political suffrage of Kurds.

It is incumbent upon the Danish Government and peace loving citizens of Denmark not to become a party and instrument of such absured and bankrupt policies, but rather assist broadcastors such as Roj TV and others to stay on the air.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Dutch journalist talks about Kurdistan on Roj TV

Saturday, February 18, 2006

On 19.02.06 the Dutch journalist and researcher Vladimir van Wilgenburg will be on the Kurdish satellite tv Roj TV. He took part in the show Ruwange, which will be shown on 22:00 Central European Time. It will be repeated on monday morning around 10:30 AM.

He will talk there about how he dedicates his live searching day and night for news about Kurds and Kurdistan. The Dutch journalist works for several Kurdish websites like Azady.nl and his own blog. He will tell the Kurdish public more how he met the Kurds and why he got so interested into the Kurdish people.

The show can be watched by sattelite, but it can also be watched live via the live stream of Roj TV.

More info: Roj.tv

Live stream Roj TV

Source: http://vladimirkurdistan.blogspot.com

Friday, February 17, 2006


Parallel to our campaign of defending the right of ROJ TV to continue its activities unmolested, many Kurdish and none-Kurdish bodies and organisations, in defending the principle of free expression and free information, have launched protest and solidarity campaigns. The following appeal is an example of this noble endeavour.

Save ROJ TV Team


A few years ago, the distinguished academic Amir Hassanpour found "it necessary … to distinguish, theoretically, between the killing of language by the state and the market … The killer is, in the case of Kurdish, clearly the institutions of the state, and the international order that allows it to happen in Turkey, Iran, and Syria … TheA few years ago, the distinguished academic Amir Hassanpour Turkish state [is] one of the worst language killers." Over the Turkish state's unrelenting campaign during the 1990's to close down the first Kurdish satellite channel Med TV, he tellingly observed: "Music and cultural programming" via the medium of satellite TV "plays a prominent role in the revival of a nation subjected to state-sponsored policies of ethnocide … Considering Turkey's record in suppressing the media, it seems clear that its campaign against the [satellite] channel is not primarily related to alleged PKK connections. Any Kurdish satellite channel would have met a similar reaction. Since the 1980s, Turkish embassies have protested [to] various governments in Europe [over] the provision of [Kurdish] native language teaching and other services to Kurdish refugees. Ankara's policy is rooted in Turkish ethnic-nationalism".

According to Ismail Besikci, Turkish state ideology, for decades, has been geared towards repressing and eliminating any perceived Kurdish cultural, political and national consciousness through the use of bloody military and non-military means. Consequently, apart from violent state terrorist 'military' and 'paramilitary' interventions – that led to the destruction of over 3,000 villages, the assassination of thousands of people and the forced displacement of over 3 million Kurds from the 'East' of Turkey during the 1980's and 1990's – other repressive 'cultural' actions that were undertaken sought to intentionally ban:
  • The very teaching of the Kurdish language
  • The broadcasting of public programmes that acknowledged and promoted the Kurdish language and its culture, and also reported upon political events in a manner that did not conform to the state's strict censorship laws.

Today, despite a propaganda offensive that claims that it has effected necessary 'democratic reforms', the Turkish state still breaches the most fundamental 'freedoms' that people are entitled to under international and humanitarian law. According to Article 19 of the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression; this includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers". The example of trial proceedings against Orhan Pamuk in Turkey and the attempt to pressurise the Danish government into banning the Kurdish satellite station Roj TV – thereby depriving the rights of Kurdish and other people in Turkey and overseas to 'seek' and 'receive … information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers', reveals the extent to which these basic rights are being trampled upon. The freedom of Roj TV's presenters and employees to 'hold opinions without interference and … to impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers' are clearly also being violated. We need to clearly express our extreme concern and opposition towards these measures.

The Federation of Kurdish Organisations in Germany makes it clear to all of us that "Roj TV" needs our critical support at this time for a number of reasons. It crucially ensures "that the Kurdish language, culture, traditions and customs live on. And, for us, the attempt to criminalise and ban Roj TV's broadcasts is something that is unjust, to put it mildly. To continue to nurture and sustain a people's own language, culture, history and traditions is, for that people, a natural right. 'In the Century of Democracy and Civilization', it is a sort of duty, for that people, to enjoy such a 'natural' right. This right, which should extend even to the Kurdish people, should not be given up. It is a tragedy that the Kurds, who represent one of the most oppressed peoples in the world, should be subjected to" these "initiatives", even now, "that are aimed at denying them this very basic and human right.

The Turkish Government has made an effort to continue with past injustices in the cultural and political realm by seeking to close down Roj TV, and stop it from broadcasting in a number of countries. The Turkish state grants few 'basic political and cultural rights' to Kurds even now. It continues a policy of denial … Instead of entering a process of 'democratization' of the state, and abiding by provisions agreed upon by international law and via Turkey-EU accession negotiations, the Turkish state has made a concerted effort to close down Roj TV … It needs to be understood that, even today, 20 million Kurds in Turkey cannot receive any public education in their mother tongue. This basic right is still forbidden.

Kurds still cannot express themselves freely and meaningfully on television, via educational associations, or in the press, as these basic 'rights' are still forbidden by the constitution. In Turkish Radio Television (TRT) today, there is only a one hour Kurdish language programme that is allowed every week. It needs to be appreciated that this programme is not meaningful in any way but merely fulfils a propaganda role and purpose. The law that permits TV in the Kurdish language has been framed to deceive the EU and international public: In practice, the Turkish state does not seek to recognise the right to education in the Kurdish mother tongue. This basic human right is still not recognized. As part of its continuing policy, the Turkish state insists on closing Roj TV. The aim, as ever, is to frustrate the 'expression and application and promotion of Kurdish peoples' language, to hinder Kurdish cultural and artistic activities and to prevent Kurds from their right of accessing information from Kurdish sources'" – a right, as we have seen, that is enshrined in Article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

assimilation of Turkish, Arabic and Persian languages. However that position has been reversed to some extent and now Kurdish is being used more widely as a direct result of the programmes available to the Kurds on Roj TV. In its 18 hours on air, Roj TV news broadcasts daily in the Kurmanci and Sorani dialects as well as in Turkish and Arabic, concentrating on the social, cultural, and political issues and daily problems confronting the Kurdish people living under the rule of four different countries as well as those in the Caucasus and in Europe. A panorama of weekly events is presented in the Persian language through the programme 'Heftname'. You can [also] find the social, cultural and educational development of young people and their activities on the weekly 'Ciwan' programme ... Broadcasting begins early in the morning with the 'Roj Baj' programme five days a week in the Kurmanci and Sorani dialects and continues mostly with programmes on music, culture, arts and literature. Children also enjoy watching the children's programme 'Xalxalok' which is presented live and comes with cartoons such as Lucky Luck, Gooll and 'Icatlar'.

used" in public educational settings in Turkey. "Roj TV broadcasts to the four parts of Kurdistan and 78 countries around the world. Roj TV broadcasts in the Kurmanci, Sorani, Hewremani and Zazaki dialects of the Kurdish language as well as in the Assyrian, Turkish, Arabic and Persian languages. Roj TV continues its activities through the broadcast permit granted to it in the year 2003 by the Media Secretariat of Denmark. Roj TV plays an important role in the preservation of the Kurdish language in the face of the restrictions and prohibitions in Turkey, Syria and Iran. The Kurdish language has gone through a serious period of weakening under the Kurdistan but also in Europe ... In the weekly political discussion programmes presented in Kurmanci, Sorani and Turkish, daily events and political developments in four countries where Kurdish people live ... are discussed. A weeklyRoj TV has a widespread news network not only inAt a time when the Turkish state continues to act in this unethical manner, Roj TV provides programming of great political and cultural value that should not be overlooked. As such, it deserves our support at this difficult time. As it explains, it seeks to "give voice to a language that is banned; that has", even now, "no right to be programme called '7. Gün' is presented in Turkish and journalists are invited to discuss the events of the week and the news in the media. Some 22% of the broadcasting time consists of music programmes.

There is a great interest shown in the music programmes 'Lorin' and 'Avaze Me' performed live from studios three days a week. The weekly broadcasts 'Dilanar', 'Keskesor', 'Ruwange Verason', 'Rengin', 'Çar Newa' and 'Sevçıra' programmes display Kurdish music, folklore and literature as well as the cultural richness of different nationalities. The 'Sevberk' programme offers traditional Kurdish folk music. This programme brings to light the traditional Kurdish songs which have been either nearly forgotten or are under the threat of being totally lost. 'Turike Dewres' is a programme where the social life, economic situation and current problems experienced in Kurdistan are brought to the screen with on-the-spot interviews and visual images ... The 'Sinemetaka Kurdi' programme concentrates on Kurdish cinema ... In this programme young directors and artists are introduced to viewers. Roj TV also broadcasts documentaries made by production firms in Europe as well its own productions" (Roj TV, 2005).

134 Kurdish and Turkish writers, academics, artists, musicians and cultural centres in December 2005 voiced the following concern: "We had hoped that the obstacles imposed on the development of Kurdish music, cinema, theatre and literature [in Turkey] will be removed one by one. One of our hopes was to establish a TV channel broadcasting from Turkey to enable Kurdish musicians, actors, writers and film producers to express themselves. In reality, Roj TV, the only medium by which Kurds can express themselves, is under threat of closure. Nonetheless, we have scripts for television series, music videos, documentary films, theatre plays, cinema films, entertainment and children's programmes … Under present circumstances [in Turkey], we do not think there are any communication mediums [in Turkey] which would be willing to broadcast work which reflects the Kurdish culture and art.

Those who claim that one can develop his/her own culture and speak his/her language are also preventing and threatening the people who want to develop the Kurdish language and culture. The '12th September [1980 military coup linked] regime burned our music, books, films and plays and today's system wants us to destroy our minds and cultural creations ourselves. This seems to be the only difference between '12th September' and today. If the national channels will not open their broadcast to us", as is currently the case, " and if Roj TV is closed down, our work might as well be burned".

SOLIDARITY APPEAL "Support Roj TV – The Voice of the Kurdish People"

We oppose the attempts by the Turkish state to forcibly close down Roj TV. The Danish government has recently come under tremendous diplomatic pressure to effect its closure. This, despite the fact that Roj TV has become a 'lifeline' to many Kurds who live in Turkey and several other countries worldwide. Roj TV is a satellite television station that broadcasts news and cultural programmes in the Kurdish language – as in other languages - to viewers all over the world. In Turkey, Kurdish culture and the use of the Kurdish language is still subject to strict censorship and repression. Roj TV provides a vital means through which Kurdish culture in all its multifaceted manifestations can be celebrated, nurtured and shared by its viewers, wherever they may live. The attempt to ban Roj TV simply for broadcasting amounts to a violation of the basic rights of Kurds to express themselves and to share information and ideas that pertain to their culture and society – It represents a fundamental breach of Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

At a time when Kurds in Turkey still do not receive any public education in their mother tongue - this basic right is still forbidden – and still cannot express themselves freely and meaningfully on television, via educational associations, or in the press in Turkey, Roj TV provides a vitally important avenue through which Kurdish culture and language can be transmitted, sustained and celebrated. Roj TV and several Kurdish organisations and human rights observers contend that the threat to close the station forms part of the Turkish state's policy that is aimed at forcible assimilation of Kurds and the very 'denial' of their identity, culture and society.

134 Kurdish and Turkish writers, academics, artists, musicians and cultural centres in a statement on 6 December 2005 voiced the following concern: „ The 12th September [1980 military coup linked] regime burned our music, books, films and plays and today's system wants us to destroy our minds and cultural creations ourselves. This seems to be the only difference between 12th September‚ and today. If the national channels will not open their broadcast to us", as is currently the case, „ and if Roj TV is closed down, our work might as well be burned".

We call on all democratic and progressive individuals and organizations to support the right of Roj TV, 'the voice of the Kurdish peoples,' to broadcast freely. We urge the relevant authorities to abide by Article 19 of the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights, and to oppose the Turkish state's initiatives that are aimed at closing Roj TV and preventing Kurds and others from seeking, imparting and receiving information and ideas through the station.

Signed by

Name Organisation/Profession

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Mahabad on ROJ TV

Mahabad is a social, cultural and literary magazin in Kurdish (middle – Kurdish) and Persian and since 2001 is printed and published in Mahabad, Eastern Kurdistan . Mahabad in its latest issue , No.58,January 2006 refers to slandering campaign against ROJ TV and among other things writes: " The military wing ( of Turkey ) aiming to annihilate Kurdish movemet have intensified their pressures through diplomatic channels on Denmark to silence the voice of ROJ TV. In the past two months , most of the Kurdish inhabited towns and cities of Turkey have been turned into demonstration grounds and opposition against Turkey's attempts for closing down this media outlet. All these positions of Turkey are contrary to the principles of human rights and the obligations of Turkey vis-à-vis Europe.

The question is ! Those governments which do not hide their fear from reflection of facts and consider a satellite channel as the greatest enemy , possess slightest sincerity in their claims for democracy ?

Source: Mahabad, no.58, p.5

Monday, February 13, 2006

Roj TV key to democratization?

Sunday, February 12, 2006

By: Vladimir van Wilgenburg

Roj TV makes sure that Kurds are not obliged to watch the scarcity of images directly controlled by the Turkish state. Because of Roj TV's modern satellite technology, Roj TV escapes the hands of Turkish dominance and censure.

Despite some EU-reforms in Turkey, there isn't something you can call real Kurdish television. The 30 minutes of state-run broadcasts and 45 minutes of private-run broadcasts are frankly not enough. This is an example that Turkish homogenisation and assimilation policy is still out there.

Roj TV, like KurdistanTV, Zaghros TV and Kurdsat makes sure that Kurds in Turkey and Kurdistan regain their pride, by becoming more aware of their Kurdish identity by delivering an alternative to Turkish television.

Kurds will become educated on their own identity, by educational information on Kurdish history, Kurdish literature, landmark geographical sites in Kurdistan, Kurdish culture, etc.

With the on-going debate about freedom of expression because of the cartoon-row, Roj TV is also in danger. Premier Erdogan concluded that, freedom of speech has it's limits. I cannot agree with this, because if I would, it would give pretence for anti-democratic measures like closing Roj TV, stopping criticism on religion, family and governments under the name of "respect". This would mean the end of freedom of speech and the start of a new dictatorship.

In the discussion about Roj TV, PKK is not the point. If you think the Turkish state is sacred and holy, then I can assure that this isn't true. Just look to the number of Turkish nationalists still roaming in the Turkish government (MHP). Frankly Roj TV is offering a platform for more Kurdish parties from all parts of Kurdistan. It isn't only focusing on Northern edges of Kurdistan, there is attention for situation of Iraqi, Iranian and Syrian `occupied´ Kurdistan as a lot of Kurds would say.

An example is that Roj TV last year invited politicians from the opposition parties Komala and KDP-I, after demonstrations in Eastern-Kurdistan (Iranian). They also once asked parties from Western Kurdistan (Syrian) to comment on the events there. Roj TV therefore creates more unity among the Kurds, which was also seen in the support of Kurdistan TV for the survival of Roj TV.(" rival" TV-station of KDP)

Another good point of Roj-TV that it is multilingual like the most of the Kurdish TV-stations. Roj TV can be seen as an example for the mostly Turkish programmes on Turkish television. Roj TV even broadcasts in Turkish, although it's meant to also reach Kurds who have forgotten their mother language.

Roj TV actually promotes democracy by giving an alternative view and showing Kurdish television 24 hours a day. Turkey still not managed to close Roj TV in the EU and therefore became a needle in the eye of Turkish republic. Even Turkish journalists-writers didn't deny that Roj TV is popular and watched by non-PKK-Kurds, as well pro-PKK Kurds.

Therefore Roj TV is a source of pressure, next to the developments in South-Kurdistan and the EU democratization process. Turkey may realise that the only way to decrease the influence and support for Roj TV is by allowing more and longer Kurdish television broadcasting. This only can be seen as something positive. I think that even people within Roj TV would welcome more Kurdish television, as a the Roj-TV producer Hessen Qazi told me: "Every Kurdish television station must be welcomed, because it will result in more pluralism" .

Then at last Roj TV could compete with those other Kurdish channels, instead of being subject of Turkish intervention and pressure. This is the only way it should be and that's why the closure of Roj TV must be stopped. The destruction of Roj TV would mean the end of freedom of speech and would partly stop the further development of the Kurdish issue and the democratization of Turkey.

Source: From Holland to Kurdistan


Friday, February 10, 2006

Shafigh Haci Xidir Kurdish lawyer supports ROJ TV

The Kurds and their country are oppressed and Kurdish language faces bans and constant restrictions. If their voice ROJ TV is shot down in democratic Europe as well, then their cultural and social rights will become more isolated than ever.

In Europe one talks about human values and rule of Law. There are universal and European conventions for protection of human rights and basic freedoms. What we insist; is taking into account those laws and conventions in the case of ROJ TV as well.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Vladimir van Wilgenburg Dutch journalist and researcher has the following to say about ROJ TV

Recently I visited Roj Tv and I was delighted by the friendly atmosphere. I was welcomed by Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan and had interesting discussions about the Kurdish question. Roj TV proved to be a platform for democratic dialogue and the development of the Kurdish issue. This I concluded when I had several discussions with Kurdish intellectuals of the sattelite station.

Roj tv shouldn't be closed, because it shows an alternative view to the Turkish television and shows like Kurdistan TV and Kurdsat, that the Kurds are capable of having professional Kurdish television 24 hours a day.

From Holland to Kurdistan

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Kurdish Institute in Brussels Supports ROJ TV

Kurdish people's access to information in their own language,
Kurdish people's opportunity to express their idea through new technology,
Kurdish people's possibility for demanding a free live without repression,

should be respected based on universal human rights principles.

On behalf of Kurdish Institue in Brussels I would like to convey my sincere wishes that Danish authorities stay firm in their position for free expression and free speech even for kurdish people and reject all unjust and undemocratic demands posed against ROJ TV.

Derwich M. Ferho


Kurdish Institute in Brussels


Monday, February 06, 2006

Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas to Danish Authorities concerning ROJ TV

The second Appeal of Internationally Known Defender of Linguistic Human rights Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas to Danish Authorities concerning ROJ TV

Copies to

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller

Minister of Justice Lene Espersen

Danish flags and the Danish Embassy in Damaskus are burning when I write this. Denmark claims to be defending the right of expression, the right to a free press, free media. If Denmark claims to be defending a universal principle, it might be wise to show that Denmark extends this principle (which may sometimes provoke and offend others) also to Muslims.

There are some 25-35 million Kurds in the world. Most of them are Muslims. ROJ-TV which sends via satellite to over 70 countries, in several varieties of Kurdish, in Turkish, Arabic and Farsi and some other languages, can be seen and is a main source of secular, democratic information, by Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and so on. Nationalistic forces in Turkey who do not like the Kurds to have information in Kurdish, demand that Denmark withdraws the license that ROJ-TV has to send – this license has been granted by Denmark. Several investigations have shown that ROJ-TV fulfills all the demands for neutral and democratic reporting.

In this situation, it is especially important to show that Denmark really defends the right of Muslim Kurds to the right of expression (including in media), which is guaranteed according to Article 19 of the International Convention of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which Denmark has ratified. In a communication made under the ICCPR to the Human Rights Committee with which you will be familiar, the right to freedom of expression has been interpreted to cover not only the content but also the form of speech (meaning the language, in this case, for instance, Kurdish), and protects speakers of minority languages from significant interferences by the state with their ability to express themselves through their language.

Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, dr.phil.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Amed's Mayor: I Will Continue To Use Kurdish

Mayor of Diyarbakir Metropolis Osman Baydemir, about whom an investigation has been started about the letter that he sent to Prime Minister of Denmark Anders Fogh Rasmussen about "ROJ TV not to be closed", said that the letter was written out with a great sense of responsibility.

Baydemir said that the file has been reached to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutor and he talked like this; "According to us, this letter doesn't contain a crime. In direct contradiction it is an example of contribution of democratic culture".

"We have to express our disparities"

Baydemir, who answered the questions of reporters, underlined that in modern democracies it has to be laid the groundwork for everyone to express themselves.

Baydemir said that "If we close the channels for expressing our disparities in democratic way, we will lay the groundwork for violence culture".

"I'm using the right that was given to me by the parliament"

Baydemir also talked about his new year message that he wrote in Kurdish and about which an investigation has been started. He said that this usage is a right and it was given to all citizens by parliament.

Osman Baydemir said like this "The result of investigation can be that as it may. But I will continue to use Kurdish. Now I'm preparing for myself a presentation card in English, Turkish and Kurdish. It is necessary not to be appalled for usage of this right".

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Ferhat Tunc meets Danish MP's

Ferhat Tunc met leading parliamentarians and high level representatives from Amnesty, Pen and Danish Arts organizations during a hectic two day stay in Copenhagen.

The stay culminated with a public meeting held on the premises of the Danish Parliament in Copenhagen. The meeting was covered by Turkish and Danish media.

Ms. Lone Dybkjær, Member of the European Parliament, Ms. Anne Grete Holmsgaard, MP and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mogens Lykketoft, MP, discussed issues of freedom of expression and Turkish – EU relations with Ferhat Tunc.

Ferhat Tunc who is constantly harassed by court cases in Turkey discussed violations on freedom of expression in Turkey and the relations between the EU and Turkey in a meeting with three leading Danish Parliamentarians. The meeting was hosted by former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr.Mogens Lykketoft, MP.

Ferhat Tunc in another meeting discussed his cases with Mr. Lars Normann Jørgensen, Secretary General of Amnesty International Denmark. Amnesty is following the situation in Turkey closely.

At a lunch meeting with fellow composers from Denmark, Ferhat Tunc was invited to collaborate with Danish musicians. The meeting hosted by DJBFA – an association of professional songwriters and composers – concluded that DJBFA will pay attention to the violations on freedom of expression in Turkey through international bodies that DJBFA work with.

Ferhat Tunc was in Denmark on the invitation of Danish Pen and Freemuse. Last year Freemuse launched an international campaign in support for Ferhat Tunc. Freemuse also presented Ferhat Tunc two years back at the International World Music Expo, Womex.

Pia Raug and Arne Würgler from DJBFA invited Ferhat Tunc to collaborate with Danish musicians.

Amnesty International follows the situation in Turkey. Ferhat with Secr. General, Mr. Lars Normann Jørgensen, Amnesty International, Denmark

Visiting Freemuse Ferhat Tunc once again expressed his gratitude to his international colleagues for their support. A hectic stay in Denmark was concluded by an interview at the Danish National Television (DR) in the late evening news program Deadline. Tunc told Danish viewers about his songs that have been banned by authorities in Turkey and about the repression of Kurdish culture.

Source : Freemuse

Freedom of Musical Expression



Ferhat Tunç in his visit to Denmark said :" The approach of the state concening kurdish and kurds is not just containement and restrictions inside the country, they want to destroy values which kurds have created via international campaigns, a clear exmple is the case of ROJ TV that you are familiar with that. The kurds who do not speak any other language ,but kurdish, the pro government kurds and kurds who are opposing government policies , they all watch this channel; Now the state is not satisfied with its restrictive measures inside country , it trys to win over the blessings of USA and EU for pressurising Denmark for closing down ROJ TV . I hope ROJ TV as a voice of a great section of Peoples of Anatolia could continue its programming , I wish Danish government takes into acount the legitimate sensitivities of the people and do not become an instrument for those circles who want to eradicate kurdish culture".

Friday, February 03, 2006

Green Party Parliamentarins in Sweden consider attempts against ROJ TV as Sad and Reprehensible!

The freedom of expression, the freedom to speak, write and broadcast belongs to the fundamental human rights. This is regulated in international conventions. To restrict these fundamental rights is not compatible with democracy.

Roj TV is a voice for millions of Kurds, not least in the part of Kurdistan that is occupied by Turkey. To try, by pressuring Denmark, to strangle this Kurdish voice is sad and reprehensible.

What Turkey should do instead is to recognize the national and democratic rights of the people of Kurdistan.

The European Union should put pressure on Turkey and demand that Turkey recognize the rights of the Kurdish people.

Yvonne Ruwaida
Member of Parliament, Green Party of Sweden

Lotta Hedström
Member of Parliament, Green Party of Sweden

Jabar Amin
Candidate for Parliament, Green Party of Sweden

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Centrist Party in The Norwegian Town of Skedsmo supports ROJ TV

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen


Prins Jørgens Gård 11

1218 Kønenhavn K

Declaration in support of the Kurds' satellite channel Roj-TV

As is well known the Turkish authorities exert a strong political pressure in order to bring to an end transmissions from the Kurdish satellite channel Roj-TV which transmits from Denmark. The two legal Kurdish parties in Turkey, HADEP and the Democratic Social Movement, refer to Roj-TV as the only voice of the Kurdish civil society in Turkey. Transmissions of cultural subjects and news in the Kurdish language is legal in a very restricted sense, the state TV-channel TRT transmits just 45 minutes per week in Kurdish-Kurmanji and transmissions in Kurdish from local TV companies are not allowed. We refer to Amnesty International which in a press communiqué of December 1st , 2005 mentions paragraph 301 of the Turkish Penal Code that prohibits utterances which offend "the Turkish, the Turkish State, and the institutions of the Turkish State".

Amnesty considers this paragraph to be a threat to the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press and fears that this paragraph may also gain validity in Europe. The Skedsmo section of the Senterpartiet (Centrist Party) therefore recommends that Roj-TV also in the time to come be given by the Danish authorities the possibility to carry ahead its work for giving the Kurdish minority in Turkey full political, legal, cultural, and social rights.

This appeal has also been submitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Per Stig Møller.

With kind regards

Skedsmo Senterparti (Skedsmo section of the Centrist Party)

The Town Hall

2000 Lillestrøm


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A viewer from Canada says :

Nous somme a canada.On veut Que Roj.tv reste reste encore comme canal pendant longtemp.Nous ecoutons Roj.tv sur internet pour les nouvelle,les culture,musique de notre langue.Cest le seule poste en kurde au monde.Nous aimons Roj parce que cest le seule poste en kurde.

Arjen Otlu has the following to say about ROJ TV

I support Roj TV, a Kurdish television which lets millions of Kurds to hear their mother tongue, know their culture and a station which lets Kurdish politicians speak freely.
Roj TV is everything that Turkey is not.