Turkey, Denmark in row over Kurdish TV station
Danish PM Rasmussen lectures Turkish PM Erdogan on press freedom after he failed to attend a press conference in Copenhagen.
The expected presence of a journalist from the Kurdish Roj TV, which is claimed to have links to the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party, PKK, led Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to show up at a scheduled press conference on 15 November, hosted by Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Copenhagen.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry has now urged Denmark to clarify its attitude towards Roj TV, which is based in Copenhagen. "Roj TV is an organisation which [...] is the voice of the terror organization PKK," said a foreign ministry spokesman. Roj TV has said it had no links with the PKK.
Citing principles on which he could not compromise, Rasmussen said that he had "no legal basis to exclude journalists from press conferences as long as they work within the law", adding that there are some things that we "see fundamentally different". He also said that "Turkey has to realise that there are some very specific conditions that need to be fulfilled if Turkey wants to become an EU member one day."
The Turkish visit to Denmark already had a heated backdrop because of the Danish daily Jyllands Posten, which published a series of sketched caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in September. Capitals of 11 Muslim countries sent a joint letter of protest to the Danish prime minister.
Erdogan said: "Freedom of speech is important, but what is holy to me is more important. I would never abuse my freedom of speech to attack things that are holy to Mr Rasmussen."
A recent opinion poll has shown that 55 % % of the Danes are against Turkish EU-membership.