Thursday, August 17, 2006

Company Refuses to Distribute Kurdish Daily

A company in Malatya has refused to distribute Kurdish-language "Azadiya Welat" newspaper after publication turns daily following 12 years of weekly print. They are distributing through 12 bureaus across the country.

BIA News Center
16/08/2006 Erol ONDEROGLU
BİA ( Malatya) - The Kurdish language "Azadiya Welat" newspaper which after 12 years of printing in weekly editions has just become a daily is suffering from distribution problems.

Newspaper executives who prepared the journal for a daily format had to distribute the first issues through their nation-wide 12 offices when the company that used to distribute it in weekly format refused to do so on a daily basis.

Saying that talks were continuing to overcome the problem, the newspaper's Editor-in-Chief Tayyip Temel told bianet that if no conclusion was reached, they would seek an alternative distribution company.

Newspaper bureaus have managed to distribute 25 thousand copies of the daily issue of the newspaper prepared for August 15 Thursday, he explained, noting that all copies in the east and southeast cities of Diyarbakir, Batman, Kiziltepe, Van, Adana, Mersin, Hakkari and Agri had sold out wile sales in the western province of Istanbul were high.

Temel, referring to the circulation and sales problems of opposition newspapers, agreed that the daily issue of Azadiye Welat would have problems even when distribution issues were resolved.

"When we take into account the Kurdish literacy rate, it is evident that we will have problems in the first stage. But our readers have been demanding a daily newspaper for a long time" he said.

"Kurds should be able to read news in their own language"

Noting that approximately 15 million Kurds lived in Turkey, Temel said the Kurdish language faced a great problem in the country due to the policies enforced but that this should not be interpreted as this language not being necessary.

"Even though we have been printing weekly for about 12 years, our readership potential never fell under 7 thousand" he explained. "We thought that a weekly newspaper could not effectively meet the news requirement. Our target is for the Kurds to read news reports in their mother tongue".

Temel ecalled that of the court cases launched against the weekly version of the newspaper on grounds of conducting "visual and written propaganda" in favour of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), 20 were still continuing but claimed they would be "the voice of all Kurds in the world".

"Local Kurdish publications restricted"

Temel, who believes practical restrictions against local Kurdish publications continue in the country says that even the allowing of Kurdish language broadcasts only for a limited time of 40 minutes is "an insult".

He argued that the Kurds had the right to protest these broadcasts by not listening to them and that it was important for the democratic quarters in Turkey to support a Kurdish newspaper.

Stressing that the daily version of the newspaper would be full of new initiatives, Temel said that for the first time Kurdish language sports and health news would be covered, marking a first in daily publishing.

Who will write?

To be published daily as an eight page newspaper, Azadiya Welat's editor is Hamdullah Yilmaz who was sentenced to three years imprisonment for "terror organization propaganda". Among its columnists is Istanbul Kurdish Institute Chairman Sami Tan, politician and writer Osman Ozcelik.

Temel said that author Mehmet Uzun had also promised he "will definitely write" for the newspaper (EO/KO/II/YE)