Friday, April 21, 2006

Çiçek: Denmark has sufficient evidence for closure of Roj TV

Thursday, April 20, 2006

ANKARA - TDN Parliament Bureau
Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek has stated clearly that Danish authorities currently have sufficient evidence for the closure of Copenhagen-based Roj TV, which Turkey says provoked deadly street clashes in southeastern Anatolia.

The statement of Çiçek, who is also spokesman for the government, came in apparent response to earlier reports quoting Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as saying that Denmark expected Turkey to present new evidence to finalize the ongoing police investigation into alleged ties between Roj TV and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"If Denmark wants to make a decision to close Roj TV, then it has sufficient evidence to do so," Çiçek told reporters.

The minister noted Turkey's request for the closure of Roj TV has been relayed via the Foreign Ministry.

"In continuous contact with our Interior Ministry, they [Foreign Ministry officials] are sending to Danish authorities whatever piece of evidence Turkey has," he said, adding that the Interior Ministry has already handed over to the Foreign Ministry a comprehensive updated file that contains information and documents concerning Roj TV. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül also has detailed information on the issue.

"In my opinion, the information handed over up until today is sufficient for closure [of Roj TV]. It is extremely obvious. … It is known that it [Roj TV] is very openly lending support to the terror organization; there is nothing to deny about it. It is also known that high-level leaders [of the PKK] broadcast speeches over that channel."

Rasmussen aware of uneasiness of Turkish gov't and media:

Roj TV has been a source of tension between Turkey and Denmark for the last two years. Only late last year Denmark launched an investigation into whether Roj TV has links to the PKK -- classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States -- and refuses to take action until their investigation is complete.

The Danish Radio and Television Board ruled last year that the station's programming could not be considered inflammatory but said it had asked police to look into alleged ties between Roj TV and the PKK.

The Roj TV issue was being handled by a criminal court in Denmark, Foreign Ministry spokesman Namık Tan recently said, noting that Turkey sent all evidence concerning the issue to the office of Denmark's chief prosecutor.

While urging Ankara to provide more evidence, Rasmussen also expressed awareness of the fact that the Turkish government and media blamed him for remaining passive on the Roj TV issue.

"If it can be proved by tangible evidence that Roj TV has provoked terrorist attacks, then needless to say that the channel has committed a crime and will be treated accordingly," he was quoted as saying by CNN-Türk on Tuesday.

Source : Turkish Daily News