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Danish trial against Kurdish TV station begins

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Danish trial against Kurdish TV station begins


A Kurdish-language television channel accused of supporting terrorism is being prosecuted in Denmark, after years of pressure from the Turkish government.

Roj TV is accused of helping to promote the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party, known as the PKK – a group considered to be a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU.

Defence lawyer Bjoern Elmquist said the station broadcasts to and represents the views of 28 million Kurds who live as refugees in many countries including Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. He said he does not believe the channel is advancing the PKK’s cause.

Danish-Turkish relations have been strained over Kurdish groups based in Denmark. In 2005, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan boycotted a news conference in Copenhagen because Roj TV journalists were present.

Speaking during his AK Party’s 10th anniversary celebrations, Erdogan warned people to distance themselves from the PKK or they would pay a heavy price. He accused their supporters of helping a separatist terrorist organisation to carry out their crimes.

Roj TV has a Danish broadcasting license, though its studios are in Belgium. Parent company Mesopotamia Broadcast has also been charged. The verdict is expected in November.

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