Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Diyarbakir mayor, Dicle apear on ROJ TV

Diyarbakir mayor, Dicle appear on ROJ TV angering Turks
The New Anatolian / Ankara
09 July 2007

The mayor of southeastern provincial capital of Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir and prominent Kurdish politician Hatip Dicle appeared on ROJ TV once again preparing the scene for a new controversy.Baydemir called the PKK "Kurdish armed opposition." Baydemir also accused Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being inconsistent. Dicle who is a former parliamentarian who was expelled from the house and sent to jail for ten years on charges of his links with the PKK said independent Kurdish deputies will enter the Parliament after the July 22 elections and will work for a "demoratic solution (of the Kurdish problem)." Dicle said he and other Kurdish deputies had entered the Parliament in 1991 and had cleared the way for the current deputies to struggle for their rights. "They have a huge crowd behind them (Kurds of Turkey). We were like the donkeys sent to the minefield. We cleared the mines (by ending up in prison) and today the new deputies will now have an easier time opening up the fields for cultivation. They are facing a historical task."Dicle said the people were concerned as they heard the slogans in mass rallies say "we are all Turks, we are Kemalists."Besides Baydemir former Human Rights Association chief Yusuf Akatas and Prof. Cengiz Gulec also participated in the program.Turkey has repeatedly called on Denmark to ban ROJ TV. The issue of closing ROJ-TV in 2006 created a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and Denmark. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan boycotted a news conference with the Danish prime minister in Copenhagen to protest the presence of Roj-TV journalists there. Also the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen requested Denmark revoke the station's broadcasting license but to date the Danish government has refused to do so, citing freedom of speech. Later, the U.S. intervened and urged Denmark to close down the channel, sending Copenhagen a secret letter which has been included in a file on the channel.However Danish police have been investigating whether ROJ-TV has any ties with the PKK, something the station has repeatedly denied.In 1995 a political wing of the PKK opened its fourth European office in Copenhagen, sparking protests from the Turkish Embassy. The office later closed because of a lack of funding. In 2000 Turkey protested that a Kurdish-language satellite TV station, Mesopotamia TV, was allowed to broadcast from Denmark to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.Baydemir was put on trial when he previously defended ROJ TV. He was one of the fifty-six pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) mayors who wrote to Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen last year asking him to keep ROJ-TV on the air.The mayors, including Baydemir, faced charges of "aiding and abetting a terrorist group."


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