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Turkey Revokes Radio Station License for Using 'Armenian Genocide' on Air

Radio on air

The Supreme Council of Radio and Television of Turkey has revoked the license of Açık Radio due to the station's use of the term "Armenian Genocide" on April 24. Initially, the council fined the radio station and suspended its broadcasting for using this term. When Açık Radio did not comply with the suspension order, the council escalated the punishment by canceling the station's license.


The council, dominated by representatives of the ruling Justice and Development Party, justified the closure by citing an article that prohibits inciting hatred and hostility within society based on race, language, religion, gender, class, or sect. The council's nine-member body unanimously decided that Açık Radio's program had violated this regulation.


Açık Radio, established in 1995, has a long history of advocating for fundamental human rights and freedoms. The station has promoted multiculturalism, inter-cultural relations, and diverse identities. Over the years, Açık Radio has produced more than 1,200 programs covering a wide range of topics including politics, sociology, psychology, culture, and environmental protection, thanks to the efforts of over 1,300 volunteers. Despite its significant contributions to the media landscape, the station's three decades of broadcasting were nullified by this one decision.


The Turkish intelligentsia, known for being more democratic and open-minded, has expressed concern over this development. However, many are not surprised, as the Supreme Council has a history of punishing non-government media. Açık Radio's staff and management plan to defend their rights through all legal means, opposing what they view as repression against freedom of the press.


This incident highlights Turkey's ongoing denial of the Armenian Genocide, the systematic mass killing and deportation of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Turkish government maintains that these deaths resulted from civil unrest and war, not a planned extermination. This stance is deeply ingrained in Turkey's educational system, diplomatic efforts, and legal framework, which criminalize the use of the term "genocide" in this context. Despite substantial historical evidence and recognition by many countries and scholars worldwide, Turkey continues to deny rather than acknowledge this dark chapter in its history.


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