We understand that you have notified two Kurdish run television channels, Sterk TV and Ronahi TV, they must stop broadcasting through your satellite following a demand from the Radio and Television Supreme Council of Turkey. We note that you believe that the closure is in line with requirements of the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television and is based on allegations of support for and glorifying terrorism.
We are sure that you are aware that the Turkish State is engaged in a massive assault on freedom of expression within its borders and now, on the basis of this demand, appear to be extending it extra-territorially. The standard currency in the attacks on freedom of expression is an allegation of terrorism and it’s over-broad definition in Turkey. Under the terrorism laws as they stand, pretty much anyone can be termed a terrorist if they do not agree with President Erdogan. The vast majority of these allegations are entirely baseless as documented by numerous International Organisations including Article 19, Pen, Reporters Sans Frontiers and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.
The television channels have stated that all of their broadcasts are in line with international law but that they do report the dictatorial practices of the Turkish State, its repressive measures, and the attacks on Kurdish people and institutions.
Since there are so few free voices now inside Turkey, it is clear that the State is turning its attention to Europe. The Channels fear that there may be a large scale violation being planned against the Kurdish people and that the TV channels are being closed in order to silence voices who can report on what will happen.
You will be aware of the report in February by the United Nations documenting a conflict in the South-East of Turkey which has claimed the lives of 5000 people and accuses the Turkish State of human rights violations including numerous cases of excessive use of force; killings; enforced disappearances; torture; destruction of housing and cultural heritage; incitement to hatred; prevention of access to emergency medical care, food, water and livelihoods; violence against women.
During 2015 and 2016 Turkish security forces shelled densely populated Kurdish areas with heavy artillery and tanks, including an incident when up to 189 men, women and children who were trapped in basements of buildings were subjected to shelling by security forces and burnt to death.
Whole towns in the Kurdish regions have been razed to the ground by Turkish Security Forces and according to United Nations satellite analysis, the damage is attributed to the use of heavy weapons and possibly air-dropped munitions.
We ask you not to bow to the pressure of an undemocratic regime, a regime with a proven track record of enmity to the Kurds. We call on you to stand up for freedom of expression.
Dr Nadje Al-Ali, Professor of Gender Studies, SOAS
Christine Blower, NUT, International Secretary
Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer GMB
Prof Mary Davis, Royal Holloway, University of London
Margaret Owen, OBE Human Rights Barrister . Director WPD
Annette Lawson OBE, Chair, The Judith Trust Ambassador, NAWO
Professor Kariane Westrheim, Chair EUTCC and University of Bergen, Norway
Stefano Squarcina, Puntorosso Association, Italy
Rahila Gupta, Journalist and Activist, Southall Black Sisters
Dr. Cynthia Cockburn, Visiting Professor, University of Warwick.
Dilar Dirik, PhD student, Cambridge University
Isabel Käser, PhD candidate, SOAS
Dr.Thomas Jeff Miley, Lecturer of Political Sociology, Cambridge University
Dr Derek Wall, International Coordinator of Green Party of England and Wales
Dr Farah Azadi, Trinity College Dublin
Steve Cushion, historian
Ross Greer MSP and the Scottish Greens spokesperson on External Affairs
Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru
Akif Wan, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)
Michelle Allison, Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) Women Representative
Turkan Budak, Co-Chair Democratic Peoples Congress UK and Roj Women Assembly
Evrim Yilmaz, Co-Chair Kurdish Peoples Congress UK
Dr Les Levidow, Open University
Trevor Rawnsley, Widening Participation Fellow, City University London
Professor Bill Bowring, Barrister, School of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London
Thomas Schmidt, Secretary General, ELDH European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights
Stephen Smellie, Deputy Convenor, UNISON, Scotland
Steve Sweeney, journalist, Morning Star
John Hunt, editor, journalist
David Morgan, journalist
Zaher Baher, writer
John Hunt, editor, journalist
Janet Biehl, author, US
Jonathan Bloch, author
Saleh Mamon, CAMPACC (Campaign Against Criminalising Communities)
Dimitri Roussopoulos, Black Rose Books, Canada
Nancy Brown, teacher, Montreal, Canada
Dr. Federico Venturini, independent activist-researcher
Dirk Campbell, composer
Debbie Bookchin, investigative journalist and author, US
Meredith Tax, author “A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State”, US
Dr Cengiz Gunes, Associate Lecturer, The Open University, UK
Patrick W. Huff, Associate Lecturer, Dept. of Geography, Birkbeck College, University of London
Amber R. Huff, Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
Dr Janroj Yilmaz Keles, Middlesex University
Tony Shephard, Leeds Friends of Rojava
Sarah Parker, Haringey Left Unity supporter
Yashar Ismailoglu, Secretary, Halkevi Community Centre
Rebecca Ment, translator
Joe Magpie, journalist
Dr Aubrey Nunes, independent researcher
Yuksel Gonul, PhD candidate, University of Roehampton
Melanie Gingell, Peace in Kurdistan
Estella Schmid, Peace in Kurdistan
Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Patrons: Lord Rea, Lord Dholakia, Baroness Sarah Ludford, Jill Evans MEP, Jean Lambert MEP, Julie Ward MEP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Hywel Williams MP, Kate Osamor MP, Elfyn Llwyd, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, General Federations of Trade Unions, Bruce Kent, Gareth Peirce, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, James Kelman, Margaret Owen OBE, Prof Mary Davis, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Mark Thomas, Nick Hildyard, Stephen Smellie, Derek Wall, Melanie Gingell, Steve Sweeney