Trial starts against Kurdish ROJ TV
Station in Denmark
August 15, 2011
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, — A Kurdish-language TV
station broadcasting from Europe is promoting a
terrorist organization and should be fined and
pulled from the air, a prosecutor said Monday.
Jakob Buch-Jepsen said Roj-TV is "glorifying" the
PKK, or the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which is
considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and
the European Union. PKK rebels have waged a campaign
for autonomy in Turkey's southeast since 1984 in a
conflict that has killed tens of thousands of
The station is accused of broadcasting material
"with PKK sympathizers, PKK people and skirmishes
between Kurds and Turkish forces," Buch-Jepsen told
Copenhagen's City Court.
Roj-TV has a Danish broadcasting license, although
its studios are in Belgium. The charges are directed
at two Denmark-based companies — Roj-TV and parent
company Mesopotamia Broadcast A/S METV.
"Roj-TV is working as a mouthpiece for the PKK.
Around one hundred people gather in front of the
City Court of Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday, Aug. 15.
2011, in support of Kurdish-language TV station Roj-TV.
A trial against a Kurdish-language TV station with a
Danish broadcasting license has started with the
prosecution arguing the channel is promoting a
terrorist organization. Photo: AP
They have made
glorifying reviews about the PKK that can be
characterized as propaganda," Buch-Jepsen said,
adding the charges cover the period from 2006 to
Prosecutors are demanding fines and that Roj-TV's
Danish broadcasting license be revoked.
Defense lawyer Bjoern Elmquist said the TV station
has denied the accusations.
"Just because a newspaper in Denmark interviews a
Taliban chief doesn't make the daily a mouthpiece
for the Taliban," he told The Associated Press.
The trial was attended by three Kurdish lawmakers
and Turkey's Ambassador to Denmark Berki Dibek.
"We expect this lawsuit to be concluded as
expeditiously as possible so this terror propaganda
organ of the PKK is sentenced in accordance with the
Danish penal code," Dibek told the AP.
Some 30 Kurds staged a peaceful demonstration
outside the courtside Monday.
A verdict is expected in November.
Danish-Turkish relations have long been strained
over Kurdish groups based in Denmark.
In 1995, a political arm 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 decried a Kurdish-language satellite
TV station, Mesopotamia TV, that was allowed to
broadcast from Denmark to Europe, the Middle East
and northern Africa. And in 2005,www.ekurd.netTurkey's
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan boycotted a news
conference in Copenhagen to protest the presence of
Since it was established
in 1984, the Kurdistan Workers' Party PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey,
numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees,
lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the
way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within
Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader
Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against
the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish
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
The PKK is considered as '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.
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