Sunday, April 09, 2006

Turks demand closure of ROJ TV

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Turks demand closure of ROJ TV - Danish prime minister close to being labeled as "terrorist".

The Turkish foreign minister has in a telephone conversation with Danish Foreign minister Per Stig Moeller asked Denmark to close down the Kurdish TV channel Roj TV. Per Stig expressed understanding for the request, but he did not promise anything, according to Ritzau News Agency.
Roj TV has been sending satellite TV for more than three years from a large flat in the centre of Copenhagen. The TV station sends in Kurdish language to some 40 mio. Kurds all over the world.

On November 15 the Turkish premier Erdogan walked out on a press conference with Danish Prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, because a young female reporter from Roj TV was present.

The Turks have on several occasions pressed for a closure of the TV channel that they claim supports terrorism. There is some probability that the Americans support the Turks, and they have probably also been putting pressure on the Danish government in the matter. The Turks have claimed that Anders Fogh Rasmussen is responsible for disturbances in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the Kurd dominated South Eastern Turkey at the end of March. Roj TV broadcast messages from the banned Kurdish organisation PKK.

In 2005 the Danish Radio and TV board concluded that ROJ TV does not transgress Danish law. The ruling was based on a scrutiny of several months of news broadcasts from the Kurdish channel.

Turkey is applying for membership of the European Union. The present case is probably not helpful for the advancement of the application. It is only recently that the Kurds are gaining som minority protection and rights in Turkey. Traditionally the Kurds have not been allowed to speak their language and to claim minority rights. The PKK has been regarded as a terrorist organisation.

The Danish magazine "The Journalist" (nr. 19, 2005), which is published by the Danish union of Journalists, interviewed Havin Gunser from ROJ TV:

"- Do you get money from the PKK?"

"No, we're supported by the Kurdish people", Havin Gunser says.
"There are an infinite number of examples of people being labeled as terrorists just for having mentioned that there is a Kurdish problem. That was close to happening to your prime minister", she says to the Journalist.