Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Kurdish Broadcast Rights Slow to Be Implemented

29 January 2007
Turkey's bid to join the European Union has ushered a flurry of reforms. Among them are measures that enable the country's long repressed ethnic Kurds to broadcast and publish in their formerly banned language. But the new freedoms have yet to be felt in some of the predominantly Kurdish regions. For VOA Amberin Zaman has details from the province of Hakkari that borders Iran and Iraq.
From a cramped apartment overlooking Hakkari's gritty main boulevard the mournful sound of a popular Kurdish pop song fills the airwaves. Its called "Esmer" or "Dusky One," and, like so many Kurdish tunes, it is about unrequited love. The apartment is the headquarters of Hakkari FM, the town's first and only radio station.
Hakan Tas, who founded the Hakkari FM nine years ago, says half jokingly that Esmer's lyrics reflect his relationship with government officials here.
Tas says most officials treat him and his colleagues as outlaws. The reason is simple, he explains: It is because his station broadcasts in Kurdish.
There is nothing illegal about that. Bowing to EU pressure, Turkey's conservative government approved legislation last year that paves the way for private radio and television to broadcast in Kurdish. The content of Kurdish language broadcasts is strictly vetted for possible "separatist" propaganda and cannot exceed 45 minutes per day.
Operating on a shoe string budget and staffed by volunteers, Hakkari FM, Tas says, sticks by these rules. Turkish authorities take a different view. Tas has been slapped with several court cases, some of them on charges of promoting Kurdish nationalism. He believes the legal assaults are calculated to muzzle his radio station.
Rojbin Tugan, is a prominent human rights lawyers and, like many here, a diehard fan of Hakkari FM.
She says the station plays a key role in keeping locals informed of their rights.
Tugan and fellow rights defenders have used air time to talk about a government compensation scheme, for tens of thousands of Kurds, who were expelled from their villages by security forces at the height of a Kurdish rebel insurgency in the 1990's.
In the neighboring town of Yuksekova, Necip Capraz and his younger brother Erkan run an award winning online newspaper called Yuksekova Haber. The website is considered as one of the most reliable sources of independent reporting from the far flung Kurdish region. Capraz says his aim is to provide an alternative viewpoint to the mainstream national press, which often espouses official thinking on Turkey's festering Kurdish problem.
Capraz boasts that his website is visited by an average one million readers a month. The paper achieved national fame in November 2005 when it broke news of the bombing of a Kurdish nationalist bookshop in the neighbouring town of Semdinli by rogue elements of the security forces, who are now in jail.
Capraz, who frequently receives anonymous threats, says that a fair share of his information comes from ordinary citizens. Naturally, he adds, such information is rigorously filtered and doublechecked before it makes its way onto the pages of Yuksekova Haber.
Source : VOA

Friday, January 26, 2007

The trial of Kurdish mayors for supporting ROJ TV continued today

Manshet News, Northern Kurdistan

Today another court sitting of the Kurdish Mayors of Northern Kurdistan Municipalities continued in Amed ( Diyarbakir ). They were indicted for writing a letter to the Danish Prime minister in support of Roj TV.

In this sitting, while reiterating his support Abdulla Akengin the mayor of Dicle in Amed told the Judge: “we are not considering our action as illegal but we rigorously
Demand that ROJ TV be able to broadcast in Amed, Ankara and Trabozan. This is for the sake of further democratization in Turkey and on the other hand to curb the heinous ideas and acts in Trabozan which resulted in Hrant Dink's assassination.”
This caused a quarrel between the prosecutor and the lawyer of Abdulla Akengin.

Turkey is accusing 56 Kurdish mayors’ members of Democratic Society Party (DTP), that by writing a support letter in support of ROJ TV, they are indirectly supporting PKK and engage in propaganda for it.

It must be stated that since a while in most of the towns and cities of Northern Kurdistan the signals of ROJ TV are disrupted

Source: Manshet News weblog

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Joint Call for Dialogue on Kurdish Conflict

Writer Kemal emphasized the historical bonds between Turks and Kurds in his opening speech of the two-day conference on Kurdish conflict. 500 academics, journalists and politicians gathered for a debate for a peaceful solution to the years long conflict.

BIA News Center
15/01/2007 Irfan AKTAN BİA (Ankara) - Kurdish and Turkish politicians, academics, activists, prominent writers and journalists gathered together for a two-day conference last weekend, titled "Turkey Looking for Peace".

The conference aimed at sparking a debate on the century old Kurdish conflict in southeastern Turkey.

While a unilateral ceasefire continues, the guerilla warfare of the pro-Kurdish group PKK marked the last 20 years of the history of Turkish Republic.

Writer Yasar Kemal emphasized the historical bonds between Turkish and Kurdish people in the opening speech of the conference.

From another respect, the reaction from Turkey to Kurds projections to determine their own future in northern Iraq is frivolous, he said.

Kurds-Turks, friends for thousand years

Addressing to 500-fold crowd, Kemal said:

"The Kurdish conflict caused a great cost for our country. Of those who fought, 30 thousand are dead. The conscience of this land is scarred with armed rangers, civilian fighters whose numbers reach up to 70 thousand.

Thousands of villages were forcefully evacuated, people scattered around the country. Murders whose perpetrators never surfaced became only normal, a part of the war. This war wore Turkey down. We became a country that fights its own people".

Kemal noted the growing nationalist sentiment in Turkey, saying, "There are racist who go undercover in a nationalist suit. They constantly repeat that 'there's no friend to a Turk other than a Turk'. One can't say something worse than this to a group of people. I want to relieve my nationalist friends from their misery:

Kurds and Turks have friends since 1071, when Turks entered Anatolia. Our rulers say that if Kurds get their independence in northern Iraq, this should be grounds for war. Why is that so? Whatever they say, I want to remind those racist nationalists that if you have one friend in this world it's the Kurds who sit on those oil reserves in the south. But Kurds in Iraq want a federation; this is what benefits them".

No military solution

Writer Vedat Türkali gave the opening speech on the second day of the conference and he insisted that a military solution wouldn't be the solution to the Kurdish conflict.

"For 28 times in our history, there were uprisings and they were repressed but the problem still stays on".

Reminding army chief of staff General Buyukanıt's words that "fight will go on until no terrorist is left on the mountains", Türkali said without a comprehensive solution there'd always be those who prefer to join the guerillas.

Ceasefire must stay

Turkish Physicians' Association (TTB) chair Gençay Gürsoy noted that this is the first time that a meeting on the Kurdish conflict realizes without any distraction.

This ceasefire period is precious and crucial for a solution and we've to insist for a political debate, only a total rejection of violence can sustain this environment, he added.

Turkey's Revolutionary Workers Unions Confederation (DİSK) chair Süleyman Çelebi said neither denial of differences nor an insurgence would solve the problem. Stating that a unilateral solution is impossible, he proposed leave of arms and the official recognition of the Kurdish identity.

"Solution rests in the country"

Democratic Society Party (DTP) co-chair Ahmet Türk voiced claims that PKK will end ceasefire in May and his hopes for a democratic and civil initiative for a solution to arise to disarray such claims.

Türk said that the government is unwilling to take initiative and PM Erdogan doesn't have a realistic idea of the problem. He urged the government to favor domestic relations instead of searching for ways to cooperate with the US for a military solution. "The solution rests with me and with you", he said.

Fair representation

Turkish Foundation of Human Rights (TİHV) chair Yavuz Onen and journalist Altan Oymen said that comprehensive policies are needed for peace.

Onen warned that the conflict is getting commonplace in all levels of the society while Oymen raised the issue of fair political representation in the parliament.

Journalist Ragıp Duran, Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) chair Hayri Kozanoglu, Gaziantep's former mayor Celal Dogan, Party of Labor (EMEP) chair Levent Tuzel, True Path Party (DYP) Diyarbakır provincial chair Galip Ensarioglu, Mothers for Peace member Emine Ozbek, journalist Berat Günçıkan, writer Altan Tan, journalist Dogan Tılıç and Prof. Dr. Melek Göregenli were among the participants of the conference.

Writer Memed Uzun's speech was read because of his absence due to health problems.

Declaration issued

By the end of the conference, participants issued a declaration outlining the political, social, economical and cultural suggestions for a solution

The declaration expressed hopes for an organization that would lead to the establishment of social peace through debate and dialogue.(İA/EÜ)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The broadcasting of ROJ TV is disrupted in Karliova

Karliova (12.01.2007) The disruption of ROJ TV's broadcasting in particularly the news bulletins are continuing in Turkey. Recently in Bingol's district of Karliova and surrounding villages the broadcasting of news bulletins disruption has been escalated.

According to public sources, the broadcasting of ROJ TV, in Karliova district are disrupted by interfering satellite signals. It is said that the military appliances of local garrison is used for this end.
It is nearly 15 days the viewers have been trying to protect their TV dishes. In Kaliova and its vicinity the protected dishes are perceived vividly.


[Edited by "Save Roj TV" Weblog ]

Municipality Gives Muti-Lingual Services

Sur Municipality approved the proposal to give services in Armenian, Syrian, Arabic and English as well as Turkish and Kurdish. Mayor Demirbas says it's important to consider local population's languages for furnishing better services.

BIA News Center08/01/2007 Nilufer ZENGINBİA ( Diyarbakır) - Diyarbakır's Sur Municipality begins giving out services in Armenian, Syrian, Arabic and English as well as Turkish and Kurdish.

Mayor Abdullah Demirbas told bianet that it's important to take into account the languages talked in the local population for better services.

Municipality assembly accepted the proposal with a majority of 17 over seven. Pro Kurdish Democratic Society Party holds the municipality while only one member of the ruling Justice and Development Party approved the proposal.

Demisbas said Diyabakır is home to 33 civilizations and while official writings are done in Turkish, other languages should be used in services.

This move opened up a debate as professors of law tell that this can result in a breach of the principle of equality if the municipality favors workers who speak those languages.

Other than that, Turkey had already recognized the right to learning and teaching in languages other than Turkish during reforms for EU accession talks.(NZ/EU)

Saturday, January 06, 2007

ROJ TV Interview with Dr. Kamal Ketuly on the current issues of Faily Kurds in Iraq on 6th December 2006.

The reception I received was very warm and welcoming from the various ROJ TV Staff whom I met. Mr Hassan Ghazi, organised my visit and interviewed me for the Ruwange Programme . During my tour of the various sections and the studios of ROJ TV I noticed a dedicated, professional staff as well as very up-to-date technical equipment and operations.

If, fellow Kurds follow the example of this type of dedication and organisation in a Kurdish establishment in Europe, we could have a better and brighter future for our Kurds and Kurdistan.

Faily Kurds in Iraq

Faily (or Phaily) Kurds are one of the ancient segments of the Ilamite Medes. They inhabit the lands of Southern Kurdistan and their land was divided between the newly created political states of Iraq and Iran after the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. Their main areas in Iraq are stretching from Kirkuk in the north, Babylon in the west, Khanaqeen in the east and Amara in the south, with the biggest population concentration in Baghdad. Failys were prominent in the Trade and Commerce sector and assumed semi-dominant position within this sector. Estimates of their number vary between 2 and 3 million in Iraq and about half a million expellees outside the country. Most of the Faily Kurds are Shiaa Moslems and few still practice the ancient Kakai, Alialahi and Zoroastrian religions. (http://www.faylee.org/)

Failys were persecuted by the regime of Saddam for various reasons - their adaptability and social and economic mobility, openness and nonsectarian open-mindedness; their strong economic position; their support for the Kurdish national movement and democratic forces.

From 4th April1980 until 1989, Saddam ordered the deportation of hundreds of thousands of Failys and other Iraqi Nationals who were forcibly expelled from Iraq on flimsy and unsubstantiated pretexts of being of Iranian origin. The state of Iraq under Saddam unlawfully stripped them of their Iraqi citizenship; confiscated their movable and immovable property; took from them all their personal official and non-official documents including their passports; detained thousands of their young men and women as hostages, who disappeared without a trace until now. ( www.9neesan.com/iraqihostages)

Failys still await the restoration of their rights in the new Iraq. They aspire to a role in the political process in Iraq to regain and safeguard their rights and interests and to play a stabilizing part. Failys are not party to the ongoing very hot sectarian strife, they have no militia forces, and they have intermixed with and are on good terms with all sections of Iraqi society, Kurds, Arabs, and Turkomans, Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians and other faiths.

Failys feel strongly that they are marginalized and outsiders and no political force in Iraq really bother to restore to them their constitutional and legal rights, despite repeated appeals. Shiites Arabs are suspicious of the Failys being ethnically Kurds. Kurds are not sure of the Failys because there are Shiites. Some Sunni Arabs see them as Iranians.

Faily Kurds demand from the newly elected state of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government to honor its constitutional and legal responsibilities and political commitments to:
1- Restoration of Failys' Iraqi citizenship and citizenship rights.
2- The return of their official and other documents taken from them and compensation for what they have lost.
3- Returning their confiscated movable and immovable property.
4- Information on the fate of their detained and disappeared youth during Saddam regime and the where-about of their remains.
5- Presence in the current political process in Iraq by representatives of their own.
6- De-Arabise the Faily cities, towns and villages in Iraq and to respect and restate their Kurdish cultural rights.

Dr Kamal Ketuly
16th December 2006

Friday, January 05, 2007

Major Developments In 2006 In Turkey


Published: 12/29/2006

-Prosecutors filed two separate cases against Hatip Dicle and Selim Sadak, two members of the Democratic Society Party (DTP), and demanded two-year prison terms for each, on charges of praising the head of PKK organization in an interview with the Roj TV, which broadcasts from Denmark.