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 Denmark: Justice minister under pressure over Kurdish ROJ TV station

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Denmark: Justice minister under pressure over Kurdish ROJ TV station  25.5.2010  

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Evidence suggesting the PKK has long had links with a Kurdish television station in Denmark has put the justice minister in the hot seat

May 25, 2010


COPENHAGEN, — Photographs clearly linking a Copenhagen-based Kurdish TV station to militant organisation the Turkey Kurdistan Workers’ Party – more commonly known as the PKK – has put pressure on justice minister Lars Barfoed to take action.

Information obtained by Berlingske Tidende newspaper revealed that both police the justice ministry’s Civil Affairs Agency have been long in contact with a witness with knowledge of PKK’s financial support of the station. Berlingske Tidende also published several photos this weekend showing ROJ-TV personnel at PKK training camps in the Middle East.                     

Danish justice minister Lars Barfoed
The PKK is considered a 'terrorist' organization by Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which overturned a decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the European Union's terror list.                   

Justice minister Lars Barfoed has now put the blame for the media fiasco squarely on the shoulders of his own office, stating that the CAA should have informed him properly about its investigation into possible illegal funding of ROJ-TV.

The CAA has now said ‘a clear error’ had been made in that the Justice Ministry was not appropriately appraised of the CAA’s conclusions in the investigation.

Since 1999 the CAA had been investigating numerous large donations to the TV station from the Kurdish Culture Foundation, which contrary to Danish law could not identify the source of the funds to the agency.

The CAA twice threatened to fine the station after investigations – once in 2004 and again in 2008. But no sanctions were ever brought against the foundation, despite that the large sums of money continued to support ROJ-TV.

According to Berlingske Tidende, ROJ-TV has been allowed to keep up to 118 million kroner of illegal funding since 2004.

That there has been close contact between ROJ-TV and the PKK is not in itself news, as many politicians as well as the Turkish government have long accused the station of being a mouthpiece for the Kurdish organisation.

In March, ROJ-TV’s other broadcasting centre in Belgium was raided by police for alleged terrorist affiliations.

The public prosecutor’s chief witness in the case is Manouchehr Zonoozi, ROJ-TV’s former managing director, who has been in contact with police for at least a year. But Zonoozi himself is implicated in the case,
www.ekurd.netas police’s evidence directly connects Zonoozi with PKK camps.

Zonoozi had long maintained that although ROJ-TV had contact to PKK sources, the station was an independent broadcaster and not controlled by the organisation. Since coming forward as a witness, however, he has altered that stance.

Zonoozi left his position with ROJ-TV in 2008 and has been in contact with Danish police since April 2009.

MPs from several parties are calling for Barfoed to take decisive action in the case and, if necessary, shut down ROJ-TV.

In the meantime, Barfoed has forbidden the Kurdish Culture Foundation from giving any further donations to the station without the express approval of the CAA.

The PKK demanded Turkey's recognition of the Kurds' identity in its constitution and of their language as a native language along with Turkish in the country's Kurdish areas, the party also demanded an end to ethnic discrimination in Turkish laws and constitution against Kurds, ranting them full political freedoms.

Since 1984 the PKK took up arms for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey [Turkey-Kurdistan] which has claimed around 45,000 lives of Turkish soldiers and Kurdish PKK guerrillas.

A large Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
 

Copyright, respective author or news agency, The Copenhagen Post, cphpos dk | Agencies    

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