: What's Related :

Kurdish TV starts broadcasting in Turkey

  • KurdishMedia.com - By Mutlu Civiroglu
  • 27/12/2008 00:00:00

The Kurdish TV of the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) which has been waited for a long time finally started to its test broadcast on Thursday, December 25, 2008, with the motto of “we live under the same sky”.

The channel is named TRT 6 and Sinan Ilhan, who also speaks Kurdish, will be the coordinator for it. TRT 6 will broadcast mainly in Kurdish language, predominately in Kurmanji dialect which is the most spoken dialect of the Kurdish language. The channel will start officially on January 1st with an official ceremony with the participation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and it will be a 24 hours broadcasting TV channel.

TRT’s Kurdish broadcasts actually started in 2004, after Radio and Television High Council (RTUK) approved some legal amendments that allowed TRT and private channels to broadcast in local languages and dialects. After this legal regulation, on June 7, 2004, TRT 3 started broadcasting in both Kurmanji and Zazaki dialects of Kurdish, as well as Arabic, Circassian and Bosnian languages, each 30 minutes. Due to legal obligations, all broadcast had to have Turkish subtitles of the original programs and the content and timing of the programs did not attract large scale of viewers.

However, with the recent initiative of the Kurdish TV, TRT officials seem to have a different view. In an interview with daily Zaman, General Director of TRT, Ibrahim Sahin stated that they would mainly use Kurmanji which is spoken by 90 % of the people in region and afterwards they would include Zazaki and Sorani as well. “Our intention is not to scare anybody. We sincerely want to meet the need of people for a TV channel which couldn’t learn Turkish. This channel will be a family channel like TRT1 which will have series, entertainment programs, and news programs. It will have everything that a family channel offers. As long as our national unity, integrity, anthem and the flag is not disrespected, we will produce same programs for Kurdish channel, as we do in other TRT channels. In the constitution, article 2954 clearly indicates our principles, missions and lines and with the condition of remaining in these boundaries, our colleagues will freely be able to say, speak and produce whatever they want.

Our purpose is not teaching Turkish to people because it’s the Ministry of Education’s job. We will use subtitles when needed however, for example, if an interviewee doesn’t know Kurdish, he will speak Turkish and then there will be Kurdish subtitles. If we don’t set up this channel, people with bad intentions and those who have ambitions on Turkey are influencing these people with their broadcasts. I believe that broadcasting in one’s mother tongue is a human rights and TRT will fulfill this necessity”.

Sahin concluded that these channel will be open to everybody with equal conditions and they will be fair to all circles. “If we bring some politicians to TV, we will bring the others as well, if not, then none of them will be on TV. If we give privileges to some certain people, then people over there will wipe us away. Our broadcast will be watched in everywhere in the world via satellite: from Northern Iraq to USA and to Australia”.

It’s reported broadly by the media that TRT has contacted to renowned Kurdish singers Shivan Perwer and invited him for the grand opening of the channel on January 1. In a written statement sent to agencies by the Shivan Perwer International Cultural Foundation, Perwer said that he had to leave his country, his loves ones and his people just because he sang in his mother tongue. “Shivan Perwer is respectful to any project that would preserve cultural togetherness and strengthen the brotherhood of two people that have lived side by side for centuries, as well as any project that would serve to Kurdish language and literature which has been left without any attention and support. He also wishes such positive steps to continue and be taken under the constitutional guarantee.

At this point, the approach of Turkish state to the Kurdish culture and its sincerity is very important. On the condition that not being involved in any political and ideological purpose, every cultural step is very significant and meaningful since it will serve to peoples’ culture and the humanity. I am hoping that the Kurdish Channel of TRT will remain in this frame. Shivan Perwer finds every development that far from politics and ideologies, which would help his culture and language to flourish very positive. Shivan Perwer who served to Kurdish people’s culture with his music, is always ready to share his songs with the brother peoples and cultures”.

Shivan Perwer is not the only name that TRT officials invited for the Kurdish channels. According to media sources, one other famous Kurdish singer is Ciwan Haco, however, it’s not known yet how Haco responded to TRT’s request. It’s also reported that while singers Nilufer Akbal and Rojin will both present a night program for the channel, Muhsin Kizilkaya will prepare a literature program for TRT Kurdish.

On the other hand, it’s reported that TRT 6 is experiencing great difficulties in finding Kurdish speaking personnel. For this reason, TRT officials held a meeting with Kendal Nezan, the president of the Paris Kurdish Institute and asked help for finding Kurdish presenters and announcers.

Regarding the Kurdish broadcast of the TRT, there are diverse opinions among the Kurds. While some claim this channel to be a mouthpiece of the Turkish state and used for official propaganda of the state, others believe that it is an important step for democratization of Turkey and recognition of the cultural rights for the Kurds. However, there were many positive comments on important Kurdish websites after the first day broadcast.

The most popular Kurdish website Netkurd announced the first days of the Kurdish Channel with its title “Kurdish TRT 6 Started Nice”. Website stated that, TRT 6 broadcasted the vide clips of legendary Kurdish singers Ayse Shan and Mihemed Arife Ciziri, as well as Ciwan Haco and Rojin. Website continued “TRT 6 started nice. If it continues in this way and it politically remains democratic and neutral, its content gave hope to the people. TRT 6 can even be better and more popular than other Kurdish channels which only talks about their political parties and show only their members and supporters. Website also commented positively about the fact that TRT 6 used standard Kurdish alphabet, including the letters w, q, x, which doesn’t exist in Turkish alphabet. Today some of the columnists of the website also wrote positively about the channel and considered the channel as a positive step.

In fact, December 25, 2008 represents a remarkable day for democratization of Turkey and the brotherhood of the Kurds and the Turks, because opening of the Kurdish TV has a historical significance and meaning for Turkey. It’s the common hope and desire of many people that this channel will be a democratic and objective television and will respect the cultural and linguistic rights of the Kurdish people. It is also hoped that TRT 6 will act as a bridge to introduce language, literature, culture and traditions of Kurds and strengthen the mutual love and respect between Kurds and Turks. Instead of making premature judgments and labeling the channel as the mouthpiece of the government, maybe it will be wiser to give some time to channel and contribute it in different ways.

TRT 6 started to broadcast from the Turksat 3A Satellite and the frequencies of the channel is as fallows:

Frequency 12.685 MHz

Polarization Horizonal

Symbol Rate 30.000

FEC 5/6

A video clip from the first day test broadcasting can be seen from the following link:


The author is a freelance writer: mciviroglu@gmail.com

  • KurdishMedia.com - By Mutlu Civiroglu
  • 27/12/2008 00:00:00