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3rd Feb 2023

Turkish media accuse Denmark of supporting terrorists

Turkish officials have backed prime minister Tayyip Erdogan's boycott of a press conference with Danish leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Copenhagen earlier this week.

Mr Erdogan walked out on Monday (14 November) over the presence of Danish-based Roj TV, which the Turkish government alleges is financed by the Kurdish rebel group PKK - a group which has been dubbed a terrorist organisation by the EU.

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  • Anders Fogh Rasmussen is said to support terrorists (Photo: European Commission)

"You confirm the PKK as being a terrorist organisation, however, I don’t approve nor understand your tolerance for the broadcasting company that provides patronage for this terror organisation," Mr Erdogan said to Mr Rasmussen according to Turkish online daily Zaman online.

Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gul said later in the week that every Turk should react the same way.

Senior military officer Yasar Buyukanit indicated: "Turkey is at war with PKK. Therefore, the prime minister simply cannot accept that a representative from the PKK TV-channel is present at the press conference."

"If the...IRA or al-Qaeda had a similar TV-station, would they have had permission to sit in the room and cover the prime minister's press conference?" a columnist for the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet wrote, adding that the Danish liberal prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen supports terrorists.

Turkey can afford it

After the incident, Mr Rasmussen said he regretted Mr Erdogan did not attend the press conference, but pointed out that excluding the Kurdish TV-station from the conference would have violated the EU principle of freedom of expression.

He added that Turkey must realise that there are a few strict conditions that have to be fulfilled if Turkey wants to join the EU one day.

But back in Turkey, Mr Erdogan stressed that "'freedom of speech can never be used as shield for terrorist to hide behind," adding "Turkey can afford to pay the price for my reaction," in a hint that there are limits to what the EU can demand from Turkey.

Roj TV ok by Denmark

Meanwhile, an investigation by the Danish media authorities and ministry of culture has ruled that Roj TV does not violate Danish law.

An ongoing police investigation to establish possible links between the TV channel and PKK, will be made official in the near future Danish police say.

Copenhagen-based Roj TV broadcasts programs for Kurds all over Europe and the Middle East and has an audience of 28 million people in 77 countries.

RoJ TV denies having connections with the PKK.

Turkey and Denmark clash over press freedom

Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan boycotted a joint press conference with the Danish leader in protest at the presence of a Kurdish TV station on Tuesday, highlighting European values on free speech.

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