International Press Institute IPI condemns
attacks on Turkish Zaman newspaper in Europe
February 17, 2012
Alleged supporters of the Kurdistan Workers' Party
attacked the Zaman daily's offices in Paris on
Wednesday. Photo: Today's Zaman.
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VIENNA, — The International Press
Institute on Friday condemned a series of
"unacceptable" attacks on Turkish newspapers in
Germany and France by suspected Kurd activists.
"We condemn these attacks and we hope that German
and French authorities conduct swift, transparent
and complete investigations that hold all of the
perpetrators accountable," Anthony Mills, press
freedom manager for the watchdog, said in a
"We also reiterate that it is absolutely
unacceptable to resort to violence against
journalists to express political disagreement with
them," it said.
The statement came a day after German police said
that arsonists torched the headquarters of the
Turkish-language newspaper Zaman in the western city
of Cologne and
attacked a cafe
frequented by the Turkish community.
Authorities have not ruled out a link to the banned
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), considered by the
European Union and Turkey as a terrorist
"In one of the two cases, we have evidence that a
substance was used to spread the fire," the
spokeswoman said. "Typical PKK slogans were shouted"
during the two Cologne attacks.
On Wednesday, Zaman's offices in the Paris suburb of
Pantin were vandalised by a dozen masked men,www.ekurd.net
with a police source telling AFP that PKK had
claimed the attack.
Zaman said that it marked the third attack against
its Paris office in six months.
PKK activists have also previously attacked the
newspaper's offices in London, Vienna and Zurich.
February 15 marked the 13th anniversary of the
arrest of PKK chief Abdullah Ocalan.
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been fighting the
Turkish state, which still denies the constitutional
existence of Kurds,www.ekurd.net
to establish a Kurdish state in
the south east of the country, sparking a conflict
that has claimed some 45,000 lives.
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
Kurdish region and more cultural rights for ethnic
Kurds who constitute the greatest minority in
Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large
Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with
the Kurdish PKK rebels.
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 leader Abdullah Öcalan, stopping
military action against the Kurdish party and
recomposing the Turkish constitution.
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
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
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