Kurdish programmes to air in Turkey

Turkey's state radio and television (TRT) will start broadcasting in Kurdish and three other minority languages next week.

    Kurds in Turkey complain they do not enjoy full civil rights

    "We have decided to begin broadcasts in different dialects and languages used by our citizens in their daily life on 7 June," the company's chief executive Senol Demiroz said in an address broadcast on TRT on Friday. 

    The company will air both radio and television broadcasts every weekday, starting with Bosnian on 7 June, he said. 

    Demiroz said the following days will see broadcasts in Arabic; in Kurmanci, the most widespread Kurdish dialect spoken in Turkey; in a Circassian dialect, and in Zazaki, another Kurdish dialect. 

    Cultural diversity

    Broadcasts will include domestic and foreign news stories, sports, documentaries and music programmes, Demiroz said. 

    The broadcasting decision is part
    of reforms inspired by the EU

    "These programmes will be a mirror of our cultural diversity."

    Expanding cultural rights for the sizable Kurdish population was a key demand by the European Union as the bloc gears up for a decision in December on whether to open membership talks with Turkey. 

    In August 2002, Turkey's parliament adopted a set of EU-inspired reforms allowing the state radio and television to broadcast in Kurdish.

    But TRT initially resisted the reform, citing its own governing regulation which provides only for broadcasts in "clear and fluent Turkish". 

    EU demand

    In a bid to save face, the government last year gave the green light to private radio and television networks to broadcast in Kurdish. 

    Turkey is hoping that Kurdish-language broadcasts - a move once categorically rejected as separatist - and other reforms will help it secure a date for EU membership talks at the end of the year. 

    Brussels has told Ankara it wants to see the reforms properly implemented before agreeing to any accession negotiations with Ankara.



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