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Kurds On Way To Launching New Satellite TV Station

A Kurdish separatist movement is reportedly wheeling out a new weapon in its struggle for an independent Kurdistan – a TV station from outer space, well outside the artillery range of its earthbound Mideast adversaries.

The region’s first Kurdish-lingo satellite TV channel is planning to take to the skies during the first half of this year and is operated by the Marxist-oriented Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), according to a report in the Ankara-based Turkish Daily News.

The English-language daily, quoting sources close to the PKK, said that the channel would be called MED-TV and broadcast from Britain to the Mideast via satellite.

The PKK has long been a major headache for the Turkish government. The party’s guerrilla wing has turned much of southeastern Turkey into a civil war zone. PKK has also claimed responsibility for numerous bomb attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions and businesses in Europe.

The Daily News reported that the space TV project was receiving financial backing from unidentified Kurdish businessmen in the West. It said that further details of the project were expected to be announced in coming weeks.

There are an estimated 22 million Kurds living in the Middle East – mostly in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. They speak an Indo-European language distinct from Turkish or Arabic, but closely related to the Persian spoken in Iran.

If the sat station gets off the ground, it will mark a new milestone in the Kurdish independence movement – and a tool for helping to enhance a Kurdish national identity. As such, it can hardly expect a warm reception from the governments of those countries where Kurds constitute sizable and often fractious minorities.

Kurdish nationalist aspirations have long been suppressed in these countries- especially Turkey, which has in the past suppressed the public use of the Kurdish language.

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