Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Construction of Kurdish Identity in the context of Globalization

A study of Kurdish satellite televisions impact on Kurdish identity Buildning
By : Siawash Goudarzi


...Etnicity in the global world is a complex phenomenon where local, national and global processes are interacting i its formation. Etnic groups have made themselves heard through media as a consequence of the globalization process. They can be seen and heard in their own language and on the basis of their own cultural context. Media, and above all, broadcasting through television, which earlier has been monopolized by nation states and actors in the free market, has become accessible for ethnic groups that previously had no power.
Kurds were among the first groups in the world that took advantage of the new mediums in order to achieve their national goals. Even though the Kurdish nationalism is much older than the globalization process, the Kurdish ethnicity has been put in a whole new context since the birth of the Kurdish satellit stations. Bearing in mind the fragmented state of kurdish groups , with different dialects and sometimes also different culture, since they live within four different states, the Kurdish channels play a large role in creating a Kurdish identity that ought to be unique for Kurds. The Kurdish satellit channels have in many regards sped up the process of creating a Kurdish identity.

The Kurds tried to create a collective cultural identiy that was going to be different from other identities (Turkish, Persian and Arabic) from afar through media, and thus creating their own identity. The Kurdish culture, music, national costumes and food, that are shown through television broadcast, is about self definition and is a clear boundary for the Kurds in that process.
The symbols that are shown by Kurdish television to maybe as many as 20 million Kurdish viewers have values associating national awareness. Kurdish satellite televisions have made a great effort to find cultural, historical and political symbols that are typical for the Kurds. The Kurdish map, flag and the national anthem are among the most important national symbols that are shown daily on the Kurdish televisions. By retelling Kurdish mythology and history they are trying to make the viewer aware of their history. This is the reason why some old traditions have become mordern and celebrated as national celebrations, and some tradegies have become national mourning ceremonies. The Kurdish identity structure is being reproduced and renewed every day by Kurdish media.

Through the Kurdish satellite stations the Kurdish language has moved from the rural areas into the cities. The Kurdish language have got a chance to be reformed and the differences between Kurdish dialects has become lesser and the Kurdish languange has moved towards a standardization.

The emergence of the Kurdish satellite channels can be related to the political strategy that has been formed by Kurds in diaspora. A public debate through modern technology can be seen as a progress. The Kurdish struggle has been distinguished by warfare. Instead of such methods they have now the possibility of using other methods in order to continue the struggle. This can be seen as a part of the process of democratization. Furthermore, the women in the oppressing patriarchal Kurdish societies now have the chance to make themselves heard and seen through Kurdish media.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

"Keep Roj TV!" Turkish musicians protest

Turkey: 17 January 2006

Turkish and Kurdish musicians have signed a petition against attempts to ban the Denmark-based Kurdish Roj TV. The Danish government has been under diplomatic pressure from the U.S. administration and the Turkish government to effect its closure

The Turkish government claims that Roj TV is supporting the Kurdish worker's Party PKK – deemed a terrorist organization by the EU, United States and Turkey. So far, The Danish Government has refused to close down Roj TV but agreed to investigate whether the content of the programmes is in line with the Danish legislation on freedom of expression.

Broadcasting in nine languages, Roj TV is the only medium by which Kurds all over the world – including Turkey – can enjoy Kurdish music. A fifth of its broadcasting time consists of music programmes.


In December 2005, 57 Kurdish and Turkish musicians together with 77 Kurdish and Turkish academics, artists, and cultural centres signed a petition against the attempt to ban Roj TV.

Also, 56 Turkish mayors from cities in South-Eastern Turkey (where Kurds are in majority) have sent a letter to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen calling for Roj TV not to be closed.

The Kurdish population, estimated at 14 million, is Turkey's largest ethnic minority, but in Turkey, Kurdish culture and the use of the Kurdish language is still subject to censorship, which is why most Kurds prefer to watch Roj TV.

The mayors in their letter to the Danish Prime Minister stated that "For a truly democratic life to flourish in Turkey, Roj TV should not be silenced."

Kurdish music programmes

Approximately 22 percent of Roj TVs broadcasting time consists of music programmes. There is a great interest shown in the music programmes "Lorin" and "Avaze Me" performed live from studios three days a week. The weekly broadcasts "Dilanar", "Keskesor", "Ruwange Verason", "Rengin", "Çar Newa" and "Sevçýra" programmes display Kurdish music, folklore and literature as well as the cultural richness of different nationalities.

The "Sevberk" programme offers traditional Kurdish folk music. This programme brings to light the traditional Kurdish songs which have been either nearly forgotten or are under the threat of being totally lost.

Solidarity appeal

"To ban Roj TV simply for broadcasting amounts to a violation of the basic rights of Kurds to express themselves and to share information and ideas that pertains to their culture and society. It represents a fundamental breach of Article 19 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights," stated the solidarity appeal which was signed in December 2005 by 134 Kurdish and Turkish writers, academics, artists, musicians and cultural centers voiced the following concern:

"We had hoped that the obstacles imposed on the development of Kurdish music, cinema, theatre and literature [in Turkey] will be removed one by one. One of our hopes was to establish a TV channel broadcasting from Turkey to enable Kurdish musicians, actors, writers and film producers to express themselves. In reality, Roj TV, the only medium by which Kurds can express themselves, is under threat of closure. Nonetheless, we have scripts for television series, music videos, documentary films, theatre plays, cinema films, entertainment and children's programmes. Under present circumstances [in Turkey], we do not think there are any communication mediums [in Turkey] which would be willing to broadcast work which reflects the Kurdish culture and art. Those who claim that one can develop his/her own culture and speak his/her language are also preventing and threatening the people who want to develop the Kurdish language and culture. The 12th September [1980 military coup linked] regime burned our music, books, films and plays and today's system wants us to destroy our minds and cultural creations ourselves. This seems to be the only difference between '12th September' and today. If the national channels will not open their broadcast to us, [as is currently the case], and if Roj TV is closed down, our work might as well be burned".

(Translated and shortened from Turkish original)

Official Danish statement

In April 2005, the Danish Radio and TV Council made an official statement, responding on a complaint from the Embassy of Turkey in Copenhagen over Roj TV, that it did not find that Roj TV had broken Danish law, Roj TV's programming contained no incitement to hatred of Turkey, and as such it could see no reason whatsoever to stop Roj TV from broadcasting.


Blogger.com - 15 January 2006:
'Save ROJ TV'

Google News:
Latest online news concerning Roj TV

Kurdish Media – 6 December 2005:
'End the attempts to close down Roj TV'

Roj TV's official home page:

The Danish Radio and TV Council's statement (in Danish) – 21 April 2005:
'Afgørelse om klage over ROJ TV'

Centre for Journalism and Further Education (in Danish) – 1 December 2005:
'Roj TV and press freedom'

Friday, January 27, 2006

ROJ TV is a huge source of Communication for the Kurdish people in the Kurdish Language

David Lammy member of parliament for Tottenham and British Minister for Culture in the Department of Culture, media and sport:

ROJ TV is a huge source of Communication for the Kurdish people in the Kurdish Language

On Saturday 20 January Federation of Kurdish Associations in England (Fed-Bir) organised a reception meal for introducing several candidates who are going to compete in council elections in May 2006. Charles Adje the Labour party head of Haringey Council and David Lammy The member of Parliament and British Minister for Culture in the Department of Culture, media and sport were among the guests.

David Lammy had the following to say concerning ROJ TV in this gathering :

" It remains fundamentally important that there is freedom of speech for all of us across Europe. I have fought hard, The Labour government in this country has fought hard to insure that Turkey is being able to get into those negotiations, in those discussions to join the European Union. With the population that I see here in my constituency in North London and Tottenham, there are many Kurdish people that have come here to find a life for themselves. I want to insure that they are experiencing, and their brothers and sisters back in Turkey are experiencing freedom of expression. So I was very concerned to hear of the implications for ROJ TV which is a huge source of communication for the Kurdish people, in the Kurdish language.

And I hope over the days ahead, that people will think very strongly and politicians will take the lead in insuring that we in Europe have freedom of expression. All our communities and certainly the Kurdish community can have their television stations, can speak in their own language, can communicate to one another, and there is no bar on that communication.

Democracy is about that freedom. It is something we have fought for, in the Labour Party in this country and in the western civilized world.

We have fought hard for it, and it would be tragic if there was a curtailment of that freedom of expression in any country that hopes to come into the European Union. And I will certainly as MP for this area be watching very closely and be making very rigorous representations to our foreign secretary, if I see that curtailed ."

Turkish Ministry starts investigations into Kurdish mayors

Wednesday, 25 January 2006

Amsterdam (TheKurdistani.com) by Vladimir van Wilgenburg - Turkey's Interior Ministry started an investigation into the letter written by 56 Democratic Society Party (DTP) mayors to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen asking him not to close Roj TV in Denmark. Recently another DTP official from Qars supported the Kurdish TV-station.

The two inspectors who were charged by the Interior Ministry, arrived in Kurdish city Amed on Sunday and launched an investigation into the letter written by 56 mayors including those of Amed (Diyarbakir), Elih(Batman), Mamekiye(Dersim), Sirnax (Sirnak) en Colemêrg (Hakkari).

Earlier Diyarbakir Prosecutor's Office had also launched an investigation about the letter.

On Wednesday the DTP Qars Provincial Chairman, Mahmut Alinak, in his written press statement, said that he wanted a referendum on Roj TV among the Kurds and showed his support for Roj TV.

The Turkish government would like the Kurdish TV station Roj-TV that transmits via satellite from Denmark to be closed. According to a complaint made by the Turkish embassy Roj TV excites hatred. But the Danish Radio and TV Board in April of 2005 concluded that Roj TV doesn't excise hatred.

Last year it has been reported that also the USA has presented wishes that Roj-TV be closed.

Until today the satellite TV-station is still broadcasting and the Danish premier Rasmussen said there would be an investigation. Because Denmark didn't close Roj TV, the Turkish press accused Denmark for "supporting terrorism".

Various Kurdish, Danish, international bodies and intellectuals condemned Turkey's campaign against Roj TV.

Source : www.thekurdistani.com/news/

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Sunday, January 22, 2006

By : Mizgîn

There is an interesting little timeline, with some equally interesting undercurrents, connected with the Turkish state's efforts to close Roj TV, and unless one traces all the threads, one is bound to miss it. To my knowledge, there is no one article which collects all the threads and undercurrents together. I should also say that it helps to have a couple of hevals to help with collecting the threads.

On 12 January, 2005, the Turkish Embassy in Denmark lodged a complaint with the Danish Radio and Television Board against Roj TV. The DRTB was only able to rule on one count of the complaint, that of incitement to hatred, and the Board found that Roj TV had not violated Danish broadcasting laws on that count. The other two counts of the complaint had to do with matters concerning the criminal code and EU terrorist list. Since DRTB does not have any expertise or jurisdiction over such matters, they forwarded those complaints to the Danish police.

In September 2005, the Turkish government made another request of the Danish government to revoke Roj TVs broadcasting license. Clandestine Radio Watch carries a report from Turkish NTV, with a date of 21 September, 2005, which states that the Danish government turned down the complaint because Roj TV had not violated Danish broadcasting laws. What is interesting is that the next entry on the Clandestine Radio Watch page, is one in which Saudi authorities agree to investigate a request, no doubt made to them by the Turkish government, to investigate Roj TV as it was being broadcast in the Middle East on Arabsat.

The next date in our timeline is mid-November, 2005, when Erdogan refused to attend a press conference at which a Roj reporter was present. From that date onward, the Turkish media engaged in its usual feeding-frenzy over all things alleged to be PKK.

But something else happened in between the time that Denmark refused to revoke Roj TVs license in mid-September, and Erdogan's mid-November dramatics at the press conference. On 30 September, 2005, the Danish Daily, Jyllands-Posten, published twelve cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. How does this concern Roj TV, you ask? Well, it doesn't directly concern Roj TV, but, if anyone can read between the lines or feel the undercurrents, the cartoon incident is being used as a pretext to bargain over Roj TV's existence.

If you follow the 30 September link, you will go to a Turkish Daily News article and you will see the photo of a man. You should know who he is. He's Erdogan's boy at the OIC, Organization of the Islamic Conference, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu. Or, rather, I should say Ihsanoglu is Fethullah Gulen's boy at the OIC, because Erdogan is Gulen's boy too, only at the AKP. Here's what the Lebanese al-Nahar had to say about Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu:

The new Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Dr Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, belongs to what used to be known in Turkey in the 1980s and 1990s as the Islamic nationalists – that group of nationalist Turks with (non-radical) Islamic inclinations, known for their association with the general structure of the Turkish state. Or to put the matter in more political terms, Dr Ekmeleddin is an Islamic personality who is directly associated with the Kemalist establishment.

The Turkish Islamists of the Gulen variety, sometimes called Fethullahci, are extremely protective of Turkish territorial integrity and prefer to see their Kurdish "problem" assimilate. They have a global network of schools which helps them to collaborate with those who can be persuaded to work against Kurdish interests, or those who are already known to work against Kurdish interests. For example, since the Iraq war, Erdogan has revived the Turkish relationship with Syria and Iran to counteract the de facto Kurdish state in South Kurdistan. What better way to ensure the silencing of Roj TV than to engage allies in the OIC against Denmark with the cartoon fiasco, while also questioning Denmark's committment to the War on Terror™?

And that is just where the cartoons and Roj TV come together, in an opinion piece by Semih Idiz in Turkish Daily News:

Some time ago I wrote in this column that Denmark was walking on thin ice, and the reference was not only to its lenient, almost protective, attitude towards Roj-TV, which Turkish authorities, and some EU countries, say is an extension of the PKK.

It was also a reference to the fact that Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen refused to meet ambassadors from Islamic or predominantly Islamic countries -- including Turkey, of course -- who were protesting the depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper's cartoons.

Idiz goes on to cry about the cartoons, accuse Danes of increasing Islamophobia, and mention how scandalized the UN is over this grave offense--more of which in a moment--and concludes with this:

How Denmark -- apparently a proud member of the war against terrorism -- resolves the PKK/Roj-TV file, which we understand is with the prosecutor now, or extricates itself from the cartoon debacle, which clearly shows insensitivity to others' beliefs and merely stokes the growing "civilizational conflict" that we are witnessing, will be interesting to watch.

As I mentioned before, Turkey's complaints against Roj TV began in January 2005. To this date, Danish authorities find no violation of broadcasting laws. Questions of Roj TV's finances were given to the police, who investigated and handed the file to the state prosecutor, where it sits to this day. In the meantime, a small group of former Danish ambassadors urges caution to avoid offending Muslim sensitivities but I ask, how much of that caution is really meant to avoid offending Turkish sensitivities? The Islamists do not give one damn whether Roj TV is closed, nor will they raise their voices to defend the Kurdish voice because they have not done so yet. The OIC is certainly not going to defend Kurdish interests, not with Ihsanoglu running the show. On the contrary, the OIC is firmly backing the Turkish state all the way. . . for their own anti-cartoon agenda.

And now to the UN. When has the UN ever defended Kurdish rights? Never, but at least it is consistent because it has made no statement about Turkey's attempts to violate the Kurdish right to free expression, even when the violation in question is also a violation of another country's "territorial integrity." Although the UN is incapable of understanding Kurdish concerns about this issue, it is only too capable of understanding the OIC's concerns:

The leader of the UN's work on human rights is saying in plain words that she is concerned over the drawings that Jyllands-Posten printed in September, expressing "apologies" for statements and actions demonstrating a lack of respect for the religion of other people. In a letter to the 56 member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), she states: "I understand your concerns and would like to emphasize that I regret any statement or act that could express a lack of respect for the religion of others". In a complaint to the High Commissioner, the 56 Islamic governments have asked Louise Arbour to raise the matter with the Danish government "to help contain this encroachment on Islam, so the situation won't get out of control." Two UN experts, on religous freedom and on racism and xenophobia, are said to be working on the case. The Islamic governments have expressed satisfaction with the reply from Louise Arbour.

[. . . . ]

According to the director of the Danish Center for Human Rights, Morten Kjærum, the attitude of the High Commissioner is "by the book.""The concern of the High Commissioner reflects that the ban on discrimination is one of the most important and general within human rights law, because we know how disastrous it is when different groups are pitted against one another," says Morten Kjærum.

In an attempt at one-upmanship, Turkey, through Ihsanoglu and the OIC, manage to engage the UN to take that key terrain known as "moral high ground," to counter Denmark's moral high ground, the right of free expression. Despite the facade they all love to maintain, whether it be over questions of human rights or "terrorism," Turkey, the OIC and the UN are trying to bargain away the Kurdish voice, in the form of Roj TV, as an act of appeasement to the greater Islamic world. With Roj TV silenced, the Ankara regime would then be able to substitute translated TRT programming and broadcast it to the Kurdish world.

TRT programming, even though in Kurdish language, would still be a weapon of assimilation because the information would be from Ankara's perspective, not Amed's, and that is not acceptable.

To my hevals, many thanks. You know who you are.

This post is reproduced from http://www.rastibini.blogspot.com

with thanks and appreciation

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

DTP Kars Provincial Chairman, Mehmut Alinak, told of the need for a referendum to be made among Kurds concerning Roj TV.

Alinak, "The efforts of the state officials to silence Roj TV is an attack against another country's right to territorial integrity"

As comic as it is for another country to ask for the end of TRT broadcasting, it is likewise comic for the state officials of the Turkish country to ask another country for the silencing of Roj TV" he said.

The DTP Kars Provincial Chairman, Mahmut Alinak, in his written press statement, said that he wanted there to be a referendum on Roj TV among the Kurds. "If it hadn't been for the ban and hardship on the Kurds, Roj TV would not be in a foreign land today, but in it's own land, broadcasting. And this responsibility is carried by the country officials" Alinak said, stressing that Roj TV was born because of need and hardship.

Alinak, in his further statement, said that: "If the country (Turkey) had met the need for a Kurdish TV channel, there would be no need for Roj TV. Roj TV with it's broadcasts is doing a humane service, whereas this service is Turkey's responsibility. The state officials are, by not bringing to the table the needs of millions of viewers, committing a crime.

Just as opening schools, making roads and hospitals are state responsibilities, it is just ast much the responsibility to broadcast a TV in the language of 20 million viewers. If a state doesn't bring this right to the table, it isn't their right to complain either."

In his statement to state officials and the world at large, DTP Kars Provincial Chairman Alinak said, "Come, let's hold a referendum for Roj TV. If there is an inch of democracy in you, you will hold a referendum for Roj TV among the Kurds. Let everybody join in on the results of the referendum. If the answer is "no", we are ready to darken the screens of Roj TV. But if the people, say "yes", you will give permission to Roj TV to broadcast in the center of Ankara. You only want democracy for yourselves. This way, you will not only have made life for the Kurdish people, but also for the Turkish people, a living hell. Never take this out of your mind!

"If you don't hold this referendum, when the day comes, we will force this through in our political struggle. For Roj TV I call on Turk, Kurd, and all democratic circles, to wish and ask for a referendum", he said.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Chiya Mazi from Sweden has following to say about ROJ TV

The way Turkey tackles its "Kurdish policy" is childish, conspiratorial and short-sighted. Turkey's Kurd policy, which is set out of democracy and Kurdish perspective, is totally unacceptable.

Turkey must put an end to tackle so called Kurdish policy, instead should concentrate on tackling policy in general. The day Turkish policy makers decide to deal with their political affair with fairness, then they will reach to this simple fact that ROJ TV is legitimate from every point of view.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Professor NOAM CHOMSKY's Second Message of Support to ROJ TV

I am writing to express my support for the International Campaign for Roj TV, and would like to join the Solidarity Appeal.

Noam Chomsky
Cambridge MA 02139

Support for Roj-TV

The Judicial-Political Association of Denmark declares its support for Roj-TV to retain its license to transmit from Denmark.

The Radio and TV-Board has recently investigated the Kurdish TV-stastion and "acquitted" it. It does not spread propaganda and hatred.

Therefore one might be induced to believe that there is no problem at all. But now first Turkey and then the USA have improperly have intervened as to how Denmark ought to administer its democracy.

Against that background the Danish Judicial-Political Association calls on Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen to insist on the statements which he made at the press conference immediately after the Turkish Prime Ministers visit to Denmark.

The issue is important because Roj-TV is the only TV-station that transmits in Kurdish to some 40.000.000 kurds all over the world.

As The Danish Judicial-Political Association sees it is, however, not just a question about a Kurdish problem in a narrow sense. If Roj-TV is deprived of its license to transmit we are dealing with a gross attack on the freedom of the press and the freedom of speech.

With kind regards
Jørgen Jepsen Jens Lyhne

Chairmen of the Danish Judicial-Political Association
Press communique November 26.2006

Saturday, January 21, 2006

A short interview with Mr. Manucher Zonoozi concering PACE's hearing in


Mr. Zonoozi! In today's issue of Turkish daily Milliyet ( 20.01.2006) Mr. Hassan Cemal the Turkish Journalist gives his side of the story in the hearing, what happaned there ?

Zonoozi : During my speech, I was intrupted by a person who presented himself as a Turkish journalist. I was talking about violation of human rights , I pointed out to the rate of illiteracy in Turkey. They were protesting and argued that no reference should be made to Turkey, because it was not in the agenda. I explained to the hearing that I was not talking about Turkey, but I was refering to the cases of violations against kurdish journalists and human rights activists , not just in Turkey but in Iran and Syria as well.

Q: This hearing should have been held before, but Turkish press insists that it was postpond because of the concerns raised by Turkey to the PACE. Should Turkey define their agenda ?

Zonoozi :No, It should not. If the council had come to a decision for holding a hearing about kurdish culture in different parts of Kurdistan, Turkey has no right to interfere, on the conterary it should open up for member states to inform themselves more an more about diversity there.

Q: Appareantly Mr.Hassan Cemal's presense was an exeption to the rule, because the hearing was closed to the press. According to a report in daily Milliyet on thursday he has accused you to make propagada for "terrorism", and he has repeated that in his article today. How is it possibe ?

Zonoozi: While he intrupted me , I objected to the chairperson of the hearing . I was

invited to the hearing as representitive of kurdish media , and it was relevant to the issue what I spoke about . Of course I could not accept such nonesense . I warned him if he does not sit quite, I will lodge a complaint, because based on his insinuation even the organisers could be part of that accusation, because they had invited our Tv station.

Lord Russel – Johnston protested his intruption and apologized to me for what happend.At the end of the hearing organisers told me without my contribution the eventual report lacks subsistence.

Thank you Mr. Zonoozi for your time

Save ROJ TV team

Friday, January 20, 2006

ROJ TV was invited to take part in hearing on the cultural situation of the Kurds

ROJ TV was invited to take part in hearing on the cultural situation of the Kurds organised by Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe – Committee On culture, science and education.

The hearing was held in Paris on Wednesday 18 January and was closed to press.
Although some participants from Turkey were not happy to hear the speech by Mezopotamia's director Manoucher Zonoozi, who pointed out to the cases of violation of human rights there.

The following is the text of Mr. Manuchehr Zonoozi representing ROJ TV in the hearing.

The Chairman, Mr. Jacques Legendre,

Lord Russel-Johnston, the Rapporteur,

The members of the committee,

Ladies and Gentleman,

Firstly I would like to thank you for inviting Roj TV.

I would also like to thank you for organizing such a hearing today.

My speech today will consist of two parts. The First part is about Roj TV, the role of Roj TV in the Kurdish culture and society and the second part will consist of experiences of Kurdish media in general.

Before going on about telling you what Roj TV is all about, the aims and objectives of it, perhaps I need to tell you about the history of struggle of the Kurdish existence.

Not long ago, it was just before two decades ago the voice of the Kurds was not heard.
As a result of division of Kurds in four parts, namely Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, Kurds were denied of their identity and suppressed of any means of rights, let alone the basic right of freedom of speech. And that at the time there were armed clashes of Kurds in the four countries mentioned before.

The beginning of 1990's was also the beginning of a new era in the history of Kurdish media in which the first Kurdish paper was published in Turkey. Yet it did not take long for the government to close down the newspapers . 29 Kurdish journalists were assassinated between 1991-1996. Thousands of court cases were opened against the journalists, chief editors, columnists etc. In October 1994 in Istanbul, Özgür Ülke newspaper was bombed and destroyed. Because the paper was publishing news without censorship that no other newspaper would in Turkey. So this was already an act against the official ideology. After all the pressure against freedom of expression on the Kurdish journalists some had to take asylum in Europe.

Thanks to European democracy which gave those journalists an opportunity to broadcast in Kurdish.

Here starts the history of Kurdish broadcasting namely Med TV in 1995.

ROJ TV started broadcasting in March, 2004. The license provider of Roj TV is Mediesekretariat of Cultural Ministry of Denmark.

A General description of ROJ TV's programming

Roj TV is a Kurdish satellite and internet broadcasting to promote the use of various varieties of Kurdish language, namely Sorani, Kurmanci, Hewrami, and Zazaki.

Roj TV tries to reach all the Kurds divided by four countries as well as Kurds living in Diaspora.

Roj TV not only assesses Kurdish society to develop democracy but also aims to bring democracy to Middle East. Roj TV broadcasts human rights violations in Turkey, Iran and Syria. Just recently we announced the torture of a woman named Sewra Kamkar in the prisons of Iran, also a member of a Kurdish human Rights organization.

On 13 of July 2005 A well known Kurdish personality Hussein Amed Hüseyin was arrested and tortured in Kamişlo in Syria. And two weeks later his dead body was given to his family. There was no news in Syria's media about the case.

Shemzinan event is another example : culprits associated with Turkish Intelligence after bombing a Bookshop were caught up by the local people. Roj TV was the first channel to capture picture of their identity and broadcast.

By watching Roj TV, Kurds are also informed of their rights and also the rights of others in the region.

For example, During bird flu epidemic when the Ministry of Health traveled to The Kurdish Cities the people protested the minister for handing out brochures in Turkish (a language they don't speak, it is also a fact that most of them are illiterates) but not in Kurdish.
But Roj TV took the responsibility to deliver information about the bird flu and ways to take precautions.

Roj TV does not only broadcast in Kurdish but also in Turkish, Arabic, Assyrian and Persian.

Roj TV promotes fraternity among the people in the region.

Roj TV has an effective role in creating culture of peace , by celebrating the religious events of the Christens, Alewis, Ezdayis and others. We celebrate Christmas every year by having a special Christmas celebration program.

Because of our philosophy of broadcasting which is purely based on freedom of speech, The Country that provide our broadcasting license is under constant pressure from Turkey and other countries in the region.

Although Denmark, where ROJ TV is receiving its license, has been under great pressure from Turkey to shut down the channel, but Danish Prime Minister Anders Fog Rasmussen very strongly protected the freedom of expression, a basic principle of democracy.

We thank Denmark for their support and that we are very proud to be based in Denmark indeed.

Roj TV plays a harmonizing role in the region and therefore helps to democratization of Middle East.

This morning children in Turkey started their school by saying "How happy one is who says that he/she is Turkish" but those children who watch ROJ TV sing songs or listen to the stories in Kurdish.

Mr. Chairman, Lord Russel-Johnston, members of the committee thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to express my views .

What a Native Teacher and his Students have got to say about ROJ TV

The fact is that closing down ROJ TV will not solve Turkey's problems.

Any Kurdish voice is an indication of the will of a group of devoted people whose efforts join the painful uproar of their nation. Thevoice of ROJ TV have several times been the target of useless effortsby Turkish generals. ROJ TV is the voice of a nation who is deprived of freedom of expression and thought in her own language!

It is absolutely clear that in Turkish democracy nobody has the rightto say "no" to the unjust human right policy of Turkish state, to the dividing human beings and classify them as first and second class!

Even now it is more obvious for every school boy that Turkish statepolicy makers do not possess the slights believe in a world withouttragedy. All their efforts are to impose a totalitarian system, thatis to ridicule with the principles of democracy. Its perpetrators mustbe condemned! but on the contrary now they have become "claimants" and ask for strangling the truth.

I, as a Kurdish teacher from Eastern Kurdistan would like to expressthat my students and I join our voices with all those voices who believe in freedom of speech . we condemn the fearing efforts ofTurkey for closing down ROJ TV. At the same time we laugh at them, we boast about ourselves to have such a great impact on their smallworld.

Salah Ilmizadeh

Thursday, January 19, 2006

ROJ TV from a Scottish perspective

From a Scottish perspective:
Roj TV is the only way that Kurds in the North of Kurdistan can get independent information about their own political situation given the State control of Turkish land based channels. It is also the only way that Kurds around the world (and Europeans) can understand the political outlook of the Northern Kurdish situation.

It is crucial that all Kurdish voices are heard. The problem thus far is that NO Kurdish voices have been heard so a period such as Anfal could occur in 1988 without the world noticing. 4,000 villages were destroyed in Turkey, without anyone noticing. Enough is enough. A Kurdish life is worth any other life in this world. America and Britain seem now to be understanding the importance of Kurdistan, other countries should be aware of this development and act accordingly.

If Roj TV is closed then one part of the Kurdish voice will be silenced, the Kurdish voice that has, until now, been completely ignored. If this happens then I will find it a great deal more difficult to convince any Kurds to pursue a peaceful path.

Roj TV is important as a symbol of freedom for many Kurdish people who live within the current borders of Turkey. The more the Turkish government tries to suppress Roj TV, the more support the station will get from within the Kurdish community.

You cannot permanently hold a people down, God knows the English have tried it with us Scots and Irish and it never really worked, Kurdistan is a logical country, that's all there is to it. The Kurds are not "mountain Turks", they are not arabs, they are uniquely Kurdish and very proud of it.

The bottom line is: Kurdistan will happen, it is happening now. To all neighbouring countries I must pose the question: are you a supporter of an independent Kurdistan or do you oppose the views of the Kurdish people when it comes to the issue of governing the land upon which they live? Turkey, do you believe in democracy? Syria and Iran, do you believe in democracy?
Azadî u serbasti bo Kurdistan, bo hami Kurdistan,

Peter Stitt

my email address is stitt_peter@yahoo.co.uk and I do not care if my name, address, email address are disclosed, now is the time for the Kurds to assert their nationality

داخستنی رۆژ تی ڤی ده‌رده‌كانی توركیه ده‌رمان ناكات

هه‌ر ده‌نگێكی كوردی نیشانه‌ی ئیراده‌ی تاقمێكی له‌خۆبوردووه كه هه‌وڵیان تێكه‌ڵه به هاواری پڕ له ئێشی گه‌له‌گه‌یان و له‌م ناوه‌دا ده‌نگی رۆژ تی ڤی كه تا ئێستا چه‌ند جار به هۆی ته‌قه‌للای بێ‌هووده‌ی ئه‌ستێره له شانه‌كانی توركه‌وه هه‌وڵی داخستنی دراوه، ده‌نگی نه‌ته‌وه‌یه‌كه كه ئازادیی ده‌ربڕینی ئه‌ندێشه‌ی به زمانی دایكی خۆی نییه!
پڕئاشكرایه كه له گه‌مه‌ی دیموكراسیی به شێوه‌ی توركی‌دا، كه‌س مافی " نه " وتنی به سیاسه‌تی دابه‌ش‌كردنی ئینسانه‌كان و ده‌ره‌جه‌به‌ندییان به یه‌ك و دوو نییه! ئێستا ئیتر بۆ هه‌ر خوێندكارێكی سه‌ره‌تاییش ئاشكرابووه كه ده‌وڵه‌تی تورك و دارێژه‌رانی سیاسه‌تی ئه‌و وڵاته بچووك‌ترین بڕوایان به داهێنانی دونیایه‌كی بێ‌كاره‌سات نییه و هه‌موو هه‌وڵ و تێكۆشینیان له پێناو یه‌ك‌ده‌ست كردنی ئه‌وزاع‌دا هه‌یه كه ئه‌مه گاڵته‌یه به بنه‌ماكانی دیموكراسی و ئه‌نجام‌ده‌رانی ئه‌بێ مه‌حكووم بكرێن! كه‌چی به پێچه‌وانه‌وه بوونه‌ته " شاكی " و داوای خنكاندنی هه‌قێقه‌ت ئه‌كه‌ن!
منیش وه‌كوو مامۆستایه‌كی كوردی رۆژهه‌ڵات ده‌نگی خۆم و خوێندكاره‌كانم ئه‌خه‌مه پاڵ ئه‌و ده‌نگانه‌ی كه بڕوایان به ئازادیی ده‌ربڕین هه‌یه و هه‌وڵه‌ ترسنۆكه‌كانی توركییه بۆ داخستنی رۆژ تی ڤی هاوكات كه شه‌رمه‌زار ئه‌كه‌ین، پێی پێئه‌كه‌نین و به خۆمانه‌وه شانازی ئه‌كه‌ین كه وه‌زنمان هێنده قورسه!
سه‌لاح عیلمی‌زاده


Shwan Awara renowned kurdish sportsman and artist a true supporter of ROJ TV

We live in a democratic society and demand justice!! The kurdish people have been persecuted for many years.

The kurdish people have like all other nations an own culture, history, literature and traditions. This means that we exist. The Turkish government on the other hand want to deny the kurdish people. Shall they now forbid us to have a kurdish tv channel? This is not democracy. We who live in europe should at least be able to follow what happens in Kurdistan.

Turkey want to become a part of Europe. How can they follow the human rights when they not even accept a hole nation? Maintain the kurdish tv channel RojTv and let us kurds sense a bit of the human rights.

Shwan Awara

Roj-TV and Freedom of the Press

By Oluf Jørgensen,
The Centre for Journalism and Supplementary Training

The Turkish government would like the Kurdish TV station Roj-TV that transmits via satellite from Denmark to be closed. Lately it has been reported that also the USA has presented wishes that Roj-TV be closed.

Roj-TV has not excited hatred, it was concluded by the Danish Radio and TV Board in April of 2005. This verdict was reached in a complaint made by the Turkish Embassy. The embassy gave as its reason for this complaint two video tapes with recordings of news items from Roj-TV.
The recordings were about confrontations between Kurdish guerrillas and the Turkish military, about movements of Turkish troops, and about the attacks by Kurdish guerrillas against various targets. The footage of the news items apparently had been filmed by the guerrillas.
The executive order regarding satellite and cable TV in its § 11, subsection 3 says: "The programmes must no in any way incite hatred based on race, gender, religion, nationality, or sexual inclinations".

The Danish Radio and TV Board when reviewing the news items in question did not find any calls for or incitements to hatred of any kind.

The Board makes it clear that it is not decisive that statements or pieces of information published by some may be interpreted as incitement. Items wil typically have different effects with persons with different notions conceived beforehand.

According to the Board it is decisive whether statementes or pieces of information are published with the purpose of inciting and calling for hatred. The Board states that the publishing of pieces of information does not in itself constitute an "incitement". Any such notion would impede a free press from informing and reporting about relations and events.

First Published in Danish 1 december 2005

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

A Group of Kurdish students from SINE (Eastern Kurdistan) lend their support to ROJ TV

A group of students at the Sine University in a letter to Danish Embassy in Tehran declared their support to ROJ TV.
They consider ROJ TV as mouthpiece of 40 million Kurds. They see Roj TV as a symbol of Freedom of speech and thought.
The signatories condemn the attempts of government in Turkey aiming to ban ROJ TV.
The students add, thanks to the Roj TV the atrocities perpetuated by Iranian security forces against the protest demonstrations of Kurdish masses in Eastern Kurdistan in the last summer were exposed to the public opinion.
In conclusion the students point out if such an independent and objective media outlet is silenced, then the Kurds will be deprived of an important means of communication.

(Source: Rojhella News)

Today Wednesday 18 January there will be a hearing in Paris

Paris -France on the cultural situation of the kurds.
The event is organised by European Council's Committee.
On Culture, Science and Education.

Mr.Manoucher Zonoozi , Director of Mesopotamya
Broadcast is representing ROJ TV in this gathering and informs participants about the important role of ROJ TV in enhansing democracy and free expression in Middle-East and among kurdish community in diaspora.


The cultural situation of the Kurds
Rapporteur: Lord Russell-Johnston, UK, ALDE

Paris, 18 January 2006, 2.30 pm
55, Avenue Kléber, 16ème

The Hearing is organized to complement the information that the Rapporteur was able to gather during his visit to Turkey in 2004. It will therefore concentrate on the cultural situation of the Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria and also in the diaspora.

Opening of the Hearing

Mr Jacques Legendre, Chairman of the Committee


Lord Russell-Johnston, Rapporteur

Cultural situation of the Kurds in Iran, Iraq and Syria

Mrs Soheila Ghaderi-Mameli (Iran) Association des Kurdes résidant en France, Paris
Mr Bachar Al Issa (Syria) historian, painter
Mr Gérard Gautier (Iraq), Délégué pour la culture et l'éducation, replacing Mr Saywan Barzani, representative in France of the Autonomous Kurdish Government

Exchange of views

Kurdish diaspora

Mr Kendal Nezam, Chairman of the Kurdish Institute of Paris
Ms Rochelle Harris, Public Relations Officer, replacing Mr Karim Ildiz, President, Kurdish Human Rights Project, London
Mr Metin Incesu, Director of Navend, Bonn
Mr Mehmet ـzün, novelist, Sweden
Mr Hugo van Rompaey, Secretary, replacing Mr Dewres Ferho, President, Kurdish Institute, Brussels
Mr Manouchehr Zonoozi, Director of Roj TV, Denmark
Mrs Feleknas Uca, MEP, Germany

Exchange of views

Kurdish literature and media

Mr Mehmet ـUzün, novelist, Sweden
Mr Manouchehr Zonoozi, Director of Roj TV
Mr Hasan Cemal, journalist, Turkey

Exchange of views

Roj TV instructs Kurdish people about bird flu

Friday, January 13, 2006

"Do you know what we can do against bird flu?" three students from a vocational medical school asked an AFP photographer on the mud-covered streets of the town, where donkeys compete for space with motorised vehicles.

"People are trying to learn what is going on from television, but most do not know Turkish fluently, they speak only Kurdish," said a high school student who only identified himself as Erhan.

But thank "god" there is Roj TV! Since Tuesday there is an instruction about the Avian Flue (Shewba Chukan) in the form of an announcement. And on Sunday 15th January the health program of Roj TV is entirely devoted to bird flu, which gives a good alternative to Turkish television.

Education is the key to controlling the spread of the virus! That is hampered here by poverty and the inability of many in the Kurdish town -- especially women -- to speak Turkish. But why should they learn to speak Turkish? Kurds have been living in this area's for decades. It can only be solved by more Kurdish education, Kurdish television and more rights for Kurds.

The Kurdish program on Sunday (15th January) is live and it's on air at 14.30 hours Central European time. Kurdish people couldn't understand the official advices in Turkish on Turkish TV concerning bird flu and how to protect oneself against flu and avoid birds' contact. Due to the fact there is no representative Kurdish television in Turkey, Kurdish people weren't informed properly. But Roj TV shows the world again that Kurds need to have their own media and shows Turkey that Kurdish is more efficient.

I hope it reached most Kurds, because not everyone can afford a satellite dish in the poverty stricken Kurdish region. I hope one day 24 hours independent Kurdish television will be shown on Turkish cable. There are now 30 minutes of Kurdish television on Turkish private channels and 45 minutes of Kurdish television on the Turkish state television. I hope the Turkish government learns from Roj TV and starts with longer, more informative and better broadcasts.

Source: http://vladimirkurdistan.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Noam Chomsky calls Turkey's efforts to silence ROJ TV "outrageous"

Noam Chomsky calls Turkey's efforts to silence ROJ TV "outrageous" and which "should certainly elicit strong opposition":

"...I have followed and joined protests against efforts for many years to silence their [Kurds'] European voice. That [threatening ROJ TV] is outrageous, and should certainly elicit strong opposition, particularly now, when state attacks on Kurds and Kurdish rights are increasing, after some improvement in recent years" (N. Chomsky, December 05, 2005).

Noam Chomsky
Institute Professor; Professor of Linguistics, Linguistic Theory, Syntax, Semantics, Philosophy of Language

An interview with Radio SBS- Kurdish Service

On Saturday morning 14.01.2006 our colleague Hassan Ghazi had an interview with Radio SBS – Kurdish service, which sends its programs from to the Kurdish community in Australia. The SBC programes are acceiable via internet as well.

Mr. Shahin Sorekly the producer and presenter of the Kurdish program at SBS, asked Mr Hassan Ghazi some questions reagrding the presures exerted on ROJ TV, and the massive support of the TV station.

The interview lasted 15 minutes.

Turkish TV stations to start Kurdish language broadcasts in January

The Associated Press, Dec. 28, 2005

ANKARA, Turkey

Turkey's local television stations will be able to broadcast programming in Kurdish and other ethnic languages next month, the head of the country's broadcasting watchdog said Wednesday.

Turkey, working toward EU membership, changed its laws in 2002 to allow limited broadcasts in Kurdish and other minority languages and state television has been airing programs in two Kurdish dialects for a half hour each week.

But local stations wanting to broadcast in Kurdish had, until now, met with bureaucratic hurdles.

"Stations that have completed their applications will be able to start broadcasts at the end of January," Zahid Akman, the head of the Radio and Television Higher Board told reporters Wednesday.

It was not clear if all stations would be permitted to broadcast and some pro-Kurdish politicians expressed caution Wednesday, saying stations which the government deems to be close to autonomy-seeking Kurdish rebels might still face obstacles.

Some stations have also complained that under the board's regulations, broadcasts would be limited to 45 minutes a day. The station would not be able to air live broadcasts because of regulations that require Turkish-language subtitles.

Still, the move would be a major step for Turkey, where until 1991, it was illegal even to speak Kurdish.

As part of EU-oriented reforms, parliament in 2002 also granted limited rights for Kurdish to be taught at private language institutions. Although Kurds at first welcomed the schools as a first step toward greater rights, these schools have since closed down due to dwindling interest and Kurdish demands for the language to be part of the regular school curriculum.

Turkey started EU membership negotiations in October. The 25-nation bloc is pressuring Turkey to grant greater cultural rights to Kurds.

Turkish nationalists are opposed to increased cultural rights for the country's estimated 12 million Kurds, fearing that would embolden separatists. Turkish soldiers have battled Kurdish guerrillas in the southeast since 1984, a conflict that has left 37,000 dead. There has been a recent surge in violence.

Gun TV, a television station based in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, has unsuccessfully been trying to start Kurdish broadcasts for the past two years, Managing Editor Cemal Dogan said.

"We have submitted all our papers, but were told that our application was incomplete," Dogan said. "They won't tell us which document specifically is missing."

Akman said Wednesday some stations had failed to complete necessary procedures despite warnings.

"Some stations have not completed their applications despite the fact that we have notified them twice," he said.

Many Kurds watch the Denmark-based Kurdish satellite television Roj TV. The Turkish government is pressuring Copenhagen to close down the station.

The European test for Turkish democracy

The Globe, Tuesday November 29, 2005 – No 34

Shemdinli; the European test for Turkish democracy

Globe Chronicle

While Turkish parliament assembled last Wednesday to talk about the Shemdinli incident with the Turkish government promising to shed light on the incident and punish the culprits, the EU stressed that a proper investigation would test the supermacy of law

in Turkey.Speaking to a Turkish TV channel, NTV, Hansjoerg Kretschmer, the representitive of the European Commission in Turkey said 'this is a test for Turkey-

a test to prove the supermacy of law and that the laws are applied to anyone regardless of who they are.'

In response to Turkey's insistence from The Danish authorities to revoke ROJ TV's broadcasting license , a kurdish dominated political party, Democratic Social Party (DTP), appealed Friday to the Danish government to resist Ankara's demand to ban the channel. In a letter to Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen , DTP stated that

' the demand to have ROJ TV banned is a move to prevent the kurdish people's right to

receive news in their own language.It is not possible to reconcile this initiative with freedom of press and expression'. Turkey maintains that ROJ TV has ties with the PKK, an armed group considered a terrorist organization by Turkey. Eu and US. In support for

Turkey's bid to ban the channel, washington has asked Denmark to shut down the channel. According to Danish daily newspaper, Berlingske Tidende, the US in a confidential request to the ministry of foreign afairs said that ' ew strongly urge the Danish government to shut down and freeze the assets of ROJ TV , Mesopotamia TV and MBMG ' Denmark's broadcasting watchdog however, refused the allegation that the channel had any links to the PKK. Turkish authorities do not allow any broadcasting in Kurdish for the sizeable Kurdish community in Turkey except for official Turkish channel TRT has broadcast in Kurdish only half an hour per week….

Monday, January 16, 2006

Andrea Allen Hickerson American expert on Communication lends her support to ROJ TV

Dear Friends,
The campaign to shut down Roj TV serves no one. The primary function of the station is to create a virtual Kurdish community - one that transcends traditional national borders. For nation states to intervene and close the station threatens not only the freedom of Kurds, but the freedom of any group who uses new media and does not reflect the aims of nation states. Since the late 1990s, Kurdish television has been enormously successful at creating a Kurdish community worldwide. Roj TV for its part has done much, it has educated Kurds about Kurdistan and created a public sphere for people to engage issues important to Kurdish people and friends of the Kurdish people. Any democratic nation looking to close Roj TV is turning its back on its own democratic principles, because by serving as a Kurdish public forum, Roj TV encourages public deliberation and civic participation - the same ideals Western nations seek to promote in the Middle East.

Andrea Allen Hickerson
Ph.D. StudentUniversity of Washington
Department of Communication
Seattle, Washington USA

Kurdish TV in Denmark

One of the many reasons I continue to support the Turkish EU accession process is because I think it will be good for human rights and democracy in Turkey, and good for the Kurds. This latest spat between Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan and his Danish hosts, is simply another good example of this at work. The pressure is constantly on Turkey.
Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan boycotted a joint press conference with the Danish leader in protest at the presence of a Kurdish TV station on Tuesday (15 November), highlighting European values on free speech.
"There is a fundamental difference between Turkey and Denmark in matters of freedom of expression," the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said at the press conference his Turkish counterpart avoided.
The Turkish prime minister was visiting the Danish capital Copenhagen as the first stop in a tour around EU capitals to discuss the prospects of Turkey's EU membership. Mr Erdogan stayed away from the press conference in protest at the presence of a journalist from the Danish-based TV channel Roj TV.
Turkey has repeatedly urged Denmark to close the channel, which sends news, entertainment, debate and children's' programs to Kurds in Denmark, arguing it is financed by the Kurdish rebel party, the PKK, which is on the EU's list of terrorist organisations. Danish police are investigating the station, but have not found evidence of links to forbidden organisations so far.

Source EU Observer
Edward Hugh

Huseyin Kalkan mayor of Batman says ROJ TV should have broadcast in Turkey

Mayor of Batman Huseyin Kalkan said they are very happy for the interest of his electorates for ROJ TV , in a short speech he made in a rally in Batman he said :
"It is a pity for Turkey that ROJ TV broadcasts not within Turkey ,but from abroad.
In Turkey authorities do not feel that, and if they succeed to force Denmark to close down the only kurdish channel, they will creat lots of problems for Turkey.. "
he also reminded Prime minister Erdogan to fullfil his promises concerning Hasankeyf."

(Source: ROJ TV . News Centre)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Peter Stitt Scottish friend of Kurdish people expresses his feeling towards Turks, Kurds and ROJ TV

I am a Scot, raised in England, and I have the freedom to question the continued domination of my country by England. That is democracy, I can say what I want, where I want, to whom I want and when I want. Again, that is democracy. Are you democratic Turkey? Truly? Why do you still have a law that allows a brilliant writer such as Orhan Pamuk to be imprisoned on a charge of "insulting the state of Turkey"?

I have seen Kurdish Turkey and I have seen, heard and smelt the fear whenever security forces were present. I think this fear deserves a voice and the one and only voice that will suffice is Roj TV. If the channel is closed then Turkish democracy may as well be closed.

I love Turkey and the Turkish people and I find it sad I feel compelled to say these things.
Please DO print my full name because I am proud of my links with a great people, the Kurds, and I'm not really worried of the consequences (the luxury of living in a real democracy, certainly not heroism!).

Biji Kurdistan u biji hami Kurd,

Peter Stitt