Saturday, January 03, 2009

Turkey's Kurdish TV channel opens to mixed reviews


DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Jan 2 (Reuters) - Turkey has launched its first 24-hour Kurdish-language TV station in what the government called a democratic new era for minority Kurds.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan extended best wishes in once-banned Kurdish, but some Kurdish politicians criticised the New Year launch of state-run TRT 6 as a ploy to woo voters ahead of March local elections.

Some viewers were concerned that programming would become state propaganda, underscoring scepticism in a region scarred by decades of violence and poverty.

Turkey, which aspires to join the European Union, has been under pressure to expand cultural and political rights of its estimated 12 million Kurds, a sixth of the population.

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