A court in Copenhagen has shut down a Kurdish TV station and fined it more than 1 million euros for promoting terrorism, but the decision has created a fuss.
The station, Roj TV, part of Mesopotamia Broadcasting, operates out of Denmark, appealing to the cause of the Kurds in Eastern Turkey. The ruling appears to have come from diplomatic pressure in Denmark from the Turkish government, with evidence in wikileaks papers of some political bargaining to influence the case.
A public appeal has been launched by the Copenhagen Post in solidarity with the Alliance for Kurdish rights and has already attracted some important endorsements, such as Noam Chomsky and John Berger.
Having lost their licence, the broadcasters have threatened to take the case to the Supreme Court on appeal. A statement from their lawyer Bjørn Elmquist, reads;
“Kurds have been denied free speech in many countries and now also in Denmark. It is unavoidable that Kurds will see the verdict as demonstrating that [the Danish state] doesn’t want to discuss the actual factual situation and that political and other motivations were instead at play.”
The charge steams from accusations that Roj TV actively supports the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group in Turkey. The ruling comes at a delicate time during a ceasefire and negotiations between the government and the Kurdish representatives.