Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Turkey calls for closure of Denmark-based Kurdish TV channel

ANKARA, March 31, 2006 (AFP) - 18h54 - Turkey Friday repeated its call for Denmark to close down a Danish-based Kurdish television channel which it considers a mouthpiece for violent Kurdish separatists.

"I spoke by telephone with my Danish counterpart today and asked him to do the necessary in respect of this channel," Foreign Ministry Abdullah Gul told Turkish television.

Ankara accuses Roj TV, which has broadcast from Denmark since March 2004, of bearing some responsibility for this week's riots in southeastern Turkey which have cost seven lives by screening messages from the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

"Denmark must face up to its responsibilties... it is not a matter of democracy and press freedom," Gul said, adding that he welcomed the reaction of the Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller who said he "understood" Ankara's concerns but did not commit to any action.

Both Turkey and the United States have previously called for the closure of the station on the grounds that it has ties to the PKK, considered a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States.

Since the PKK began its campaign for self-government in the chiefly Kurdish southeast of Turkey in 1984, more than 37,000 people have been killed.