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 Denmark-based Kurdish Roj TV gets Nobel nod from Tutu 

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Denmark-based Kurdish Roj TV gets Nobel nod from Tutu  3.2.2011  

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu nominates Kurdish ROJ TV for a Nobel Peace Prize. Photo:
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February 3, 2011

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, — The Kurdish-language television station Roj TV has been nominated as a candidate for a Nobel Peace Prize by a group that includes former honoree Desmond Tutu, a South African archbishop.

The 150-member group that suggested the Denmark-based station – accused by the Turkish government of being a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK – also includes Inge Genefke, who works on behalf of torture victims, and Tue Magnussen, a member of the Danish Helsinki Committee, as well as various human-rights activists.

The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

On a visit to Turkey in August with a group of veteran statesmen dubbed the “Elders,” Archbishop Tutu called on the Turkish prime minister to take action to bring about a solution to the Kurdish question.

To be eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize, a candidate must be nominated by qualified individuals, including former winners. Though the prize has previously only been awarded to individuals,
www.ekurd.netit can also be given to institutions and associations. Information about the nominations, investigations and opinions concerning the award is kept secret for fifty years.

Speaking to the Danish daily Politiken, Genefke said Roj TV reflected the Kurdish people’s sorrows and the situation in Turkey to the world. Saying that Turkish media is restricted by government pressure, she added that the broadcaster contributes to the development of national awareness of Kurdish people.

The Danish Justice Ministry, which has launched a closure case against the broadcaster, did not issue a statement about its candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize. Tom Behnke of the Danish opposition party said it was strange for a television station that Denmark had tried to close down to be nominated for the prize.

Roj TV began broadcasting in 2004 from Belgium to 68 countries in Europe and Asia, prompting angry criticism from Ankara, which says the channel is a mouthpiece for the PKK.

Last August, Cape Town and the Chair of ‘The Elders’ (a group of former world leaders which aims to tackle some of the world’s most intractable problems) called on the Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the political head of Turkey, to use his office and his influence to bring a lasting end to the conflict in Turkey with regards to the Kurdish question.

Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a Kurdish state in the south east of the country.

But now its aim is the creation an autonomous region and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million.

PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees, lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK president, stopping military action against the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish constitution.

PKK demanded to stop military and political operations and to release Kurdish politicians who are unjustly detained. The organization also requested to enable imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's active participation in the process.

Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish language and private Kurdish language courses with the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish politicians say the measures fall short of their expectations.

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