Monday, October 23, 2006

Environmentalist defends appearance on ROJ TV

The New Anatolian / Ankara
19 October 2006

A vocal environmental activist yesterday tried to shield himself from public criticism over his appearance on a TV channel that praises Kurdish cause.

Oktay Konyar, who is known for efforts to encourage villagers to unite against environmental degradation and act against business giants responsible for pollution, said in his defense that as an activist, he also has the right to express his ideas about the Kurdish problem, as well as peace and stability in the country.

Konyar was criticized for participating in a program on Danish-based Roj TV .He was also said to have joined a meeting of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) and was accused of spreading separatist ideas among the villagers.

The activist, in a press statement read in front of the Human Rights Association's (IHD) Izmir branch, described himself as a democrat and advocate of human rights.

Konyar claimed that business circles have launched a smear campaign against him, while confirming his attendance at a DTP meeting along with several academics and intellectuals.

"They want me to be a modest environmentalist and stay silent in the face of other problems the country is facing," said Konyar, adding that those who are against him tried to agitate villagers and turn them against him by spreading the news that he attended DTP meetings and went on Roj-TV.

He also said that he once stood trial on charges of treason and was acquitted, adding that no one can dissuade him.


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