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 EU court to determine whether Germany can block Kurdish ROJ TV signal 

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EU court to determine whether Germany can block Kurdish ROJ TV signal  19.8.2010  

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August 19, 2010

STRASBOURG, — The EU is now being drawn into the controversy surrounding Kurdish TV station ROJ TV, in response to its former head earlier this year telling Danish media that it has links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an organisation which is on the US and EU’s terror list.

The court is now looking into whether Germany can block the signal from the Danish-based TV station, even through this goes against EU regulations. Danish police have for years been attempting to find out if there is a link between ROJ TV and the Turkey Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, but the German state is not being as lenient. It wants the signal stopped in Germany as it believes the TV station is controlled by the PKK, and contacted the EU court to seek an allowance to stop the signal.             

Kurdish ROJ TV
However, EU law states that only the country in which the station is based can do this.

And it is now feared by several MPs that the case might harm Denmark’s reputation and make it look like a weak link in the EU’s fight against terror.

In 2005 it was the Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan who, at a press conference in Denmark with his Danish counterpart, suddenly left the room when he saw among the crowd of journalists two Roj TV reporters. "There is room only for one of us: if they don't leave I will", said an angry Erdogan. And it was him who had to leave the room, after the polite but firm reply by the Danish authorities, "For us freedom of the press is a value to respect and to uphold. We will not censor any journalist". In other words, sorry Prime Minister, but it's you who should go. And Erdogan did leave, but he has been holding a grudge against the Danish government since.

Roj TV was born as Med TV on 30 March 1995. On 14 April of that year it broadcast the founding congress of the Kurdish Parliament in exile. Over the years in the four parts of the divided Kurdistan (Iran, Turkey, Iraq and Syria) as well as all over the world the satellite dishes grew like mushrooms to receive the precious signal which was coming from Europe to give the Kurds everywhere images and voices of their country. Med TV was broadcasting from Belgium and soon Turkish pressures convinced the local authorities to act against the television. In September 1996 with a massive police operation Med TV is raided,
www.ekurd.netits staff detained, archives seized.

Roj TV has a very various programming, from news, to in depth investigation programs, from live music programs to live debates. It broadcasts in Kurdish (Sorani, Kurmanci and Zazaki) as well as in Turkish.

The last big operation was on 4 March this year. Dozens of arrests were carried out once again by the Belgian authorities acting on request from Turkey. And indeed Turkish policemen took part in the raid at Roj TV studios which were destroyed. The television as a result of this clearly politically motivated operation suffered a €1.2 million loss in material damage.

Since 1984 the PKK [Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan] 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.

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.

A large Turkey's Kurdish community estimate to 25 million openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

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.
 

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

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