Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Zeynep Gurcanli - The New Anatolian / Ankara

Denmark gets file on Roj-TV, PKK links

Zeynep Gurcanli - The New Anatolian / Ankara

Ankara sent a file to Denmark earlier this month detailing the links between Roj-TV, a station broadcasting under license of the Danish government, and terrorist group the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The New Anatolian has seen the evidence that Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said has been sent to the Danish government with a request to shut the station down. Cicek, in a statement last week, read out a file containing recent information sent to the Danish Foreign Ministry.

Some examples of broadcasts of the station between Feb. 28 and April 2 of this year - a time of protests and unrests in Turkey's southeast - were included in the file sent to Copenhagen. A European Union document related to the closure of one of Roj-TV's forerunners, Medya TV, was also included in the file.

Roj-TV has been a bone of contention since Turkey asked Danish officials to shut the station down on the grounds that it had proven links with the PKK. Late last year, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to take part in a news conference with his Danish counterpart Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Copenhagen to protest the presence of Roj-TV journalists there.

Pro-Kurdish Roj-TV, which broadcasts from Denmark, came onto the Turkish political radar through a sudden rise in terrorist PKK activities in the southeast early last year. Ankara, after closely monitoring the station's broadcasts, drew the conclusion that Roj-TV is affiliated to the PKK.

France banned similar channel

The EU document included in the file sent to Copenhagen was an analysis from France's Conseil Superieure de L'audivisuel (Supreme Audiovisual Council or CSA), which is responsible for monitoring TV broadcasts in the country.

CSA notified its sister institutions in other European countries about the February 2004 French government decision to ban Medya TV and explained the reasons. In the document, the French government underlined that the PKK had been banned by France with a decree dated Dec. 2, 1993. The European Union also put the PKK onto its list of terrorist organizations on May 2, 2002. The document also mentioned the "realities" about the links between Med TV and the PKK, citing the potential "risk to French public order" posed by the station.

The British government's similar decision about Med TV, broadcast from the United Kingdom and shut down due to the evidence of its links with the PKK, was also appended to the French document. Med TV was the forerunner of Medya TV, which was established and began its broadcasts from France just after the British government's decision to shut down Med TV.
Turkey, in the file sent to the attention of the Danish authorities, pointed to similarities between the cases of Medya TV and Roj-TV through both French and Turkish official documents. Demonstrating that another EU country hadn't fallen back on "freedom of expression" when faced by an imminent danger of terrorism, Ankara then asked the Danish government to act like its neighbor France.

Broadcasts inciting unrest

A DVD was included also in the file sent to Copenhagen to prove that Roj-TV is supporting and inciting PKK activities in Turkey. Images of news reports calling on Kurdish people living in Turkey to "close shops" and "boycott schools" took up the bulk of the DVD. In the same news reports, Roj-TV also showed the names and photos of PKK militants who were killed during clashes between the PKK and Turkish security forces in demonstrations in Turkish cities, along with a call to the audience to take part in the "funeral ceremonies of these heroes."

Such funerals in recent weeks became the spark for riots and
violence in the southeast.

Another DVD containing messages from Murat Karayilan, an influential figure in the terrorist organization, was also sent to Copenhagen as part of the evidence of links between Roj-TV and the PKK.

In another document within the file, the Turkish government argues that Roj-TV was founded and led by PKK militants. This is proven by the broadcasts of Roj-TV itself, which show how a person wore two hats, both in Roj-TV and the PKK, says the file. The two "job titles" of Abdullah Hicab, both a PKK leader and a member of Roj-TV's administrative board, were both televised as subtitles during a broadcast by the station.


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