Kurdish-lingo content ban to end

Dispatch - Turkey

BUDAPEST — As a concession that could pave the way for Turkey’s entry into the European Union, the government is lifting its ban on Kurdish-lingo TV programs.

Despite fierce tensions between the government and its ethnic Kurdish minority, which makes up about 20% of Turkey’s population of 73 million people, officials in Ankara have agreed to allow Kurdish programs on air ahead of an EU summit, at the end of the year, where leaders will consider whether to begin accession talks with Turkey.

Europe’s easternmost nation could join in 2007 along with Bulgaria and Romania.

Executives for state broadcaster TRT met May 25 to determine the makeup of its Kurdish programming. Kurdish content may also appear on private networks

As the Middle East’s largest minority, with a population of almost 30 million spread among Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, the Kurds’ culture and traditions may require that TRT do more than dub Turkish-made programs into the Kurdish language.

TRT may have to produce Kurdish-tailored programming or air programs generated by Kurdish Satellite Television. For the present, TRT is mulling a regular Kurdish-language news program.

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