Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kurdish Writer ROJAN HAZIM,s petition to Danish Prime Minister


Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Prins Jørgens Gård 11
1218 København K

Dear Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen

In spite of the fact that Turkey is a candidate country for EU membership, and has started accession talks the 3rd of October this year, Olli Rehn, the EU commissioner in charge of enlargement, recently reported that Turkey still needs to implement reforms on a number of specific and significant areas. As it is today the Kurds do not hold the right to express themselves freely. Identifying yourself as a Kurd is still risky bussines, and poses a grave risk to your life.

Due to article 42 in the Turkish Constitution which bans the teaching of any mother tongue other than Turkish, no teaching or eduacation in Kurdish exists in Turkey. Equally, publishing and broadcasting in Kurdish is practically prohibited. Radio stations and tv stations established by Kurds are not allowed to air programs using the Kurdish language. In other words, one cannot speak Kurdish in Turkey without facing significant obstacles or flat out being punished.

Thus Turkey's usual anti-Kurdish policies based on the denial and rejection of the Kurdish identity continue on full scale.

A Kurdish diaspora of considerable size can be found in various european countries. Approximately one million Kurds live within EU's borders. And in a democratic system like the EU the Kurds naturally and rightfully consider themselves as Kurds and live in peace with their national identity. The Kurds have organized themselves and have become integrated in European life, and because of their need for social and cultural acitivities they have become involved in the media bussines. The Kurds of today are on a broad basis publishing newspapers and broadcasting radio or television programs in Kurdish. One of these channels is ROJ TV, which is established in full accordance with danish legislation. One thing is the fact that Turkey does not allow Kurdish broadcasting within its own borders, Turkey does not even tolerate the democratic states of Europe allowing it.

The number of Kurds who actually read and write Kurdish is not overwhelming. This is exactly why the electronic media are incredibly important instruments in developing and protecting the language, while maintaining the cultural formation and the authentic Kurdish folklore, but most importantly protecting the Kurdish identity. Television is especially effective in daming up the Turkish assimilation of the Kurds.

Television is the most significant means of education for every Kurd, whether it be in Kurdistan, Turkey or in the diaspora. In this context it becomes clear why the Turkish government pursues to terminate ROJ TV. Any Kurdish activity is being labelled by Turkey as terrorist activities, and with this approach the authorities are in fact harrasing the Kurdish population.

The Kurds are a people of victims. Not only are they being robbed of their human rights and their national rights in Turkey, the Turkish government also puts its claws in the Kurds living in EU member states. The Kurdish people only wishes to be able to express it self within the framework of the EU democracies. If this request is being rejected as a result of political pressure from the Turkish state it will trumatize the Kurds.

The Turkish government is currently putting a pressure on the Danish authorities in order to get ROJ TV's broadcasting license cancelled. Denmark is among the countries in which the freedom of press is upheld the best. But Turkey wants to export its antidemocratic and despotical regime to the democratic states of the EU.

Denmark, whose capital has given name to the democratic norms of the Copenhagen Criteria, should resist the pressure. 50 million Kurds all over the world hope that the Danish government will stand up for the Copenhagen Criteria, reflecting democracy and humanisme, and not give way for the Ankara Criteria which symbolize despotism and antidemocracy.

As a Kurdish writer in Denmark and a member of the Danish Writers Association I hope that your government will not deviate from the path of legal principals and justice, not allowing ROJ TV, the television station of the Kurdish people, to be closed. ROJ TV is the voice of the Kurds. I am asking you to listen to the prayer and appeal for conscience of the Kurdish people.

Kindest regards,

13 November 2005

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