Copenhagen prosecutors overseeing an investigation into Kurdish-language television station Roj TV have said the TV station is the voice of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and have requested a Danish court ban the channel from broadcasting.
Prosecutors Anders Risager and Jakob Buch-Jepsen announced their final opinion during the 28th hearing of the trial on Wednesday. They submitted evidence of orders from PKK executives to Roj TV and photographs of Roj TV employees taken in the PKK’s bases in the Kandil Mountains in northern Iraq. Buch-Jepsen said during the hearing that the evidence they put forward clearly proves that Roj TV is completely under the control of the PKK, both administratively and economically.
The PKK is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the European Union. Its members are fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast, a conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people since 1984. Roj TV has a Danish broadcasting license, but has no studios in Denmark.
Stating that the channel said it would be based and managed in Copenhagen when its founders applied for a license from Danish authorities, Buch-Jepsen said the channel is being run from the Brussels-based pro-PKK news agency Roj NV and all broadcasts of Roj TV are being provided by Roj NV. The prosecutor added that Roj TV is the successor of Med TV and Medya TV, which were earlier banned in Germany, France and the UK, noting that it is enough to follow the programming of Roj TV to see that it is the successor of these channels.
After countless complaints and petitions from the Turkish government over a number of years, in August 2010 Denmark’s public prosecution filed a court case against Roj TV, charging it with helping to promote the PKK. When filing the case, top Danish prosecutor Jorgen Steen Sorensen said Roj TV was promoting the activities of the PKK.
Turkey’s minister for European Union affairs, Egemen Bağış, who was in Copenhagen for an official visit, commented on the Danish prosecutors’ opinion in the Roj TV case on Wednesday, saying he does not want to even think about the possibility of a ruling against the closure of Roj TV. “I want to hope that the Danish judiciary will make the correct decision on this issue, which clearly shows that Roj TV has become the mouthpiece of the PKK,” he told reporters.
“Let’s wait for the ruling,” he added. Bağış said the single issue that negatively affects Turkish-Danish relations is Roj TV. The TV station has long been a cause of tension between Denmark and Turkey. Ankara believes it is broadcasting propaganda for the PKK and has called for the station to be closed, but in the past Denmark has refused to do so, citing freedom of the press.