After being accused for making propaganda for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by the Turkish Embassy in Lebanon, Armenian journalist Sarkis Kassardjian responded to the accusation on his social media account.
Since his interview with Cemil Bayık, a top official of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), was published in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar on 26 and 27 October, he has been a target of the Turkish embassy in Beirut for allegedly ‘making propaganda’ for the PKK, designated a ‘terrorist organisation’ by Turkey as well as the United States and the European Union.
“It is essential for any journalist or an independent media outlet to be able to make interviews with people who have a particular influence,” Kassardjian said in response to the embassy.
“I wish to remind the Turkish Embassy that similar work by the Turkish media is still relatively recent. Journalist Mehmet Ali Birand made an interview with PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan which was broadcast on ’32nd Day’, a TV programme on political issues, back in the 1990s. Also, a presidential candidate in the last Turkish presidential election, Vatan Party leader, Doğu Perinçek, also had made an interview with PKK leader Öcalan in the past as well. There are really so many other examples. As the Turkish Embassy is making accusations in my case such as ‘use of the language of terror’ and ‘making propaganda’, how would it comment on the candidacy of Doğu Perinçek for the Turkish Presidency.”
“There are countless examples of European media institutions making interviews with people who are on terror lists of the US and EU. This is an indication of the independence of the media in national and international political and legal issues. While the world’s largest media institutions have also conducted interviews with Cemil Bayık, his articles have also appeared in Washington Post or the Guardian.”