GeriGündem NATO chief says Roj TV could be shut down if links to PKK proved
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NATO chief says Roj TV could be shut down if links to PKK proved

NATO chief says Roj TV could be shut down if links to PKK proved
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ISTANBUL - Newly appointed NATO chief, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday that Denmark-based Roj TV station could be closed down if it is proved that it has connections with the terrorist organization PKK. (UPDATED)

If Danish investigators find any relations between Roj Tv and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, then the network will be closed down, Rasmussen said at an Istanbul summit of the Alliance of Civilizations, a forum promoting understanding between the Western and Islamic worlds.


Turkey had earlier opposed Rasmussen's bid for the top NATO post, saying the Dane's unwillingness to suspend broadcasts from a Denmark-based Roj TV station linked to the terror organization PKK, and his stance during the 2006 crisis over a Danish newspapers publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, cast doubts over his ability to lead the alliance.


Rasmussen said police and prosecutors are investigating two things. Firstly whether there are any economic ties between Roj TV and the PKK, and secondly whether the network broadcasts in anyway incite terrorism.


Emphasizing that the PKK is a terrorist action, Rasmussen said that they will close Roj TV broadcasts according to Danish legislation. Upon a question recalling that the investigation took four years and asked how long is expected to after this point, Rasmussen said it is for the public prosecutors to decide, adding "I can hope that it will end as soon as possible."


He said Denmark is strongly committed to the fight against terrorism and terror related activities, reminding that his country was one of the first to recognize the PKK as a terrorist group. Rasmussen also said he discussed the situation in Afghanistan in a meeting with Prime Minster Tayyip Erdogan.


Close attention to religious sensibilities 

Rasmussen also said he would pay close attention to religious sensibilities in his new role as NATO chief in comments aimed at allaying Muslim concerns over his appointment, at an Istanbul summit of the Alliance of Civilizations, a forum promoting understanding between the Western and Islamic worlds. 


"I respect Islam as one of the world's major religions as well as its religious symbols," Rasmussen said.


His comments fell short of the outright apology which Turkish officials had hoped for.

"I was deeply distressed that the cartoons were seen by many Muslims as an attempt by Denmark to mark and insult or behave disrespectively towards Islam or the Prophet Mohammad. Nothing could be further from my mind," said Rasmussen, whose shoulder was dislocated early Monday when he fell down the stairs at his hotel in Istanbul.

The NATO row, which threatened the image of unity at the military alliance's 60th anniversary summit, was resolved after U.S. President Barack Obama gave Turkey guarantees that Turkish commanders would be present at the alliance's command and that one of Rasmussen's deputies would be a Turk.

NATO is engaged in the biggest military operation in its history in Afghanistan, and Turkey had said Rasmussen's appointment would make the alliance's mission there harder.

Rasmussen had previously defended the publication of the cartoons, which caused protests in the Muslim world, on the grounds of free speech and refused to apologize to Muslim countries.

"During my tenure as the Secretary General of NATO I will pay close attention to the religious and cultural sensibilities of the different communities that populate our increasingly pluralistic and globalized world," Rasmussen said.

"Clash among civilizations not inevitable"
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan told the conference that the "Alliance of Civilizations" initiative was an answer to those who asserted that a clash among civilizations was inevitable.

Erdogan said as Turkey and Spain, they initiated the process with the belief that dialogue was possible.

"We sincerely believed that the Christian, Muslim and Jewish peoples, the East and the West, could understand and tolerate each other. We believed that prejudices in a globalizing world could only be dangerous," Erdogan said.

He said different societies could not be allowed to have misconceptions and misunderstandings about each other in a global world with the spread of communication.

"We know well how hard it is to break prejudices. We know it will take time to destroy the feelings of animosity stemming from the depths of history. We set out with sincere intentions and we believe our little steps will open the door for greater initiatives," Erdogan said.

Erdogan said intolerance caused conflicts, which in turn brought separation, noting that it was necessary to enhance tolerance, strengthen dialogue, understanding and solidarity.

"The people feel animosity towards ones they don't know. A smiling face, a warm touch, a sincere hand shake, will build strong bridges between hearts. We have to find ways to win the hearts," he also said.

He said terror was an international problem, adding that in the past, it targeted major cities from different corners of the world like New York, Madrid, London and Istanbul.

"Those who see terror as other nations' problem may suffer from terror themselves. Therefore, it is necessary to build a strong culture of solidarity starting from today," Erdogan added.

The Second Forum of the Alliance of Civilizations is being attended by five heads of state and government and 31 foreign ministers.


Erdogan, Rasmussen, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luiz Rodriguez Zapatero, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Turkish State Minister Mehmet Aydin and Interior Minister Besir Atalay came together briefly before the meeting began.


The Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu and Greek Foreign Minister Theodora Bakoyannis are among the dignitaries attending the Istanbul forum.




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