Denmark takes steps to keep PKK out of television broadcasts

Denmark takes steps to keep PKK out of television broadcasts

(Photo: Cihan)

June 08, 2012, Friday/ 16:32:00/ GÖZDE NUR DONAT

Denmark is pondering revisions to its broadcasting law to prevent terror groups like the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) from exploiting loopholes in the legislation in order to promote terrorist acts.

Speaking to Turkish journalists in Copenhagen on the occasion of Denmark's appointment to the EU presidency, danish officials stated that changes imposing penalties on media channels with links to terrorist organizations are now being discussed.

The new legislation would effectively ban PKK mouthpiece Roj tv from airing in Denmark. In January, the Copenhagen City Court fined Roj TV and its parent company 2.6 million kroner ($445,000) each for broadcasting programs said to incite terrorism. The judgment linked Roj TV to the PKK, considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US. Danish officials welcomed the court's decision, saying it would have a positive impact on Turkey-Denmark bilateral ties.

Officials said the law would also help to prevent terror-linked media organizations banned in Denmark from operating under different names. The law is expected to come into effect from October.

The Danish government invited a large delegation of journalists from Turkey to a briefing on Denmark's EU vision and the achievements of the country's term in the EU presidency. A total of 30 journalists were included in the program, held on June 7-8, including members of both print and television media at the local and national level. The group visited the Copenhagen municipality, Ministry of Environment and Energy and Danish Foreign Ministry.

Foreign ministry officials portrayed bilateral relations between the two countries as positive, stating that Denmark is supportive of Turkey's bid for the EU membership. Touting the new EU-Turkey “positive agenda” joint initiative as reinvigorating debate on stalled policy chapters, Danish officials maintained that Turkey needs to fulfill its legal responsibilities under the acquis and under the framework of bilateral agreements with the EU, such as the Ankara Protocol.

The officials ruled out the positive agenda as an alternative to accession negotiations, remarking instead that it should be perceived as a complementary process to ongoing negotiations.

Under the Ankara Protocol, the EU insists that Turkey is obliged to open its ports and airports to traffic from Greek Cyprus. As an additional protocol to the Ankara Agreement of 1963, it also foreshadows the extension of Turkey's Customs Union deal with 10 countries that joined the EU in 2004, including the Greek Cypriot administration. The EU has blocked negotiations on a total of eight policy chapters due to this rift. The Turkish government, however, insists on the lifting of barriers for Turkish Cypriots in trade and transportation in exchange for opening its own port to Greek Cyprus.

Officials emphasized that one of most important economic benefits Denmark could gain from Turkey is in the construction sector, while Denmark is a promising country for Turkey in terms of imports of green technology.

When asked about recent tensions in EU-Turkey relations, manifesting in Turkey's blockage of the participation of EU officials in the most recent NATO summit in Chicago, officials expressed their regret at Turkey's actions, claiming they served to obstruct a vital channel of cooperation between NATO and the EU. Turkey and six other NATO members opposed the participation of EU leaders in the Chicago summit, pointing to the fact that NATO's secretary-general was not invited to attend EU summits. A Western-nation diplomat based in Ankara told Today's Zaman last week that some EU members privately communicated to US officials that they did not want to see EU leaders joining the Chicago summit, although they did not express this view publicly to avoid the wrath of Brussels.

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