French satellite company Eutelsat has announce it will suspend broadcasts by Roj TV, after courts in Denmark fined the broadcaster for alleged links with the PKK. Roj TV strongly denies the allegations, and is appealing the decision, but Eutelsat has preempted the appeal and has made the decision to take Roj TV off the air. Below is a statement by the Kurdish Federation UK on the decision.

There will be a protest today, 23 January, 12pm -1pm outside the French Embassy in London, to condemn this decision. Join the action!


KURDISH FEDERATION UK  Statement, 23 January 2012:

The Kurdish people condemns the decision of Paris based satellite company Eutelsat to suspend the broadcasts of Kurdish television channel Roj TV.

Eutelsat has attempted to justify its action by claiming that the move is an inevitable response to the Danish Court ruling earlier this month and that it wants to avoid being “an accomplice to terrorist activities”.

But the Danish court only fined Roj TV for alleged links with the PKK; it stopped short of revoking its license and allowed it to continue broadcasting. Roj TV is also strongly contesting the Danish court’s decision and is currently appealing against the ruling. Eutelsat has therefore taken a decision that goes much further by taking Roj TV off the air.

The decision can only be seen as a partisan one that favours Turkey and discriminates against the Kurds. Turkey, as everyone must be well aware, has been waging a never ending campaign against Roj TV in order to suppress this independent voice of the Kurdish people and prevent the Kurdish perspective on what is going on inside Turkey from reaching a wider audience.

Turkey’s oppression of the Kurds has been rightly described as one of the great forgotten injustices of our time. Roj TV was founded to ensure that the Kurds have a voice and that what is happening to them cannot be forgotten and ignored. It is the only mass effective voice that the Kurds possess and it is vital that is continues. The attempts to prevent it from broadcasting are a blatant example of the continued persecution of the Kurds and provoke a deep sense of injustice among the Kurdish people.

The action by Eutelsat pre-empts the outcome of Roj TV’s appeal and can only be condemned as provocative.

Turkey wants to silence the Kurds as part of its ongoing policy of denial of Kurdish identity and repression of the Kurds as a people. This decision by Eutelsat comes at a critical time when the Turkish state is stepping up its repressive measures against the Kurds on various fronts: politically, legally and military, with the mass arrests and show trials of journalists, lawyers and politicians and increased military operations.

Roj TV is providing information that it vital on abuse and atrocities committed by the Turkish military, as in the mass killing by Turkish warplanes of 35 Kurdish civilians, known now as the Roboski Massacre, which took place on 28 December 2011. Without the broadcasts of Roj TV the full truth about such appalling incidents would never see the light of day and Turkey would get away with even worse atrocities against the Kurdish people.

22 January 2012