Diyarbakırspor Chairman Abdurrahman Yakut said his club has applied to the general directorate of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, or TRT, to have their matches shown next season (2009-2010) in Kurdish on the TRT’s Kurdish language channel, TRT-6.
Diyarbakırspor has earned promotion from the second league to Turkey’s top group and the team will compete in the Turkcell Super League in the upcoming season. TRT-6 shows a highlights package of the Turkcell Super League at the moment, allocating three minutes to each match. Diyarbakırspor wants the entire 90 minutes of its games to be broadcast on the Kurdish-language channel. Mr Yakut said he thinks many Kurds who do not speak Turkish will want to cheer their home team on in front of their television sets while watching the matches in Kurdish.
‘I have appeared on TRT-6 as the chairman of Diyarbakırspor and spoken in Kurdish. TRT-6 has no problem with this request. However, legal impediments might exist about the channel’s right to broadcast an entire match,’ said Yakut. He said there was a lot of demand for games to be broadcast in Kurdish from the club’s supporters and said that viewer numbers of TRT-6 would increase dramatically if this were implemented.
‘Diyarbakırspor is the team of the region,’ Mr Yakut told Turkish media. ‘Therefore, we want our mothers and sisters in their homes and people who do not speak Turkish to follow our matches as well.’
Last month, Abdullah Gül, Turkey’s president, opened the debate about what can and should be done to solve the Kurdish question 25 years after the PKK started its armed struggle. Mr Gül called the Kurdish question Turkey’s most pressing problem. He also was quoted as saying the current year offered a ‘historic chance’ to solve the Kurdish question. Could football in Kurdish be one of the keys to solving the issue?
There has been no statement from TRT on the subject yet, nor from the Radio and Television Supreme Council, the state broadcast regulator.
New Kurdish ball for state TV broadcast pitch, Hürriyet, 25 May 2009.
Seibert, Thomas. Kurdish answers to Kurdish question. The National, 26 May 2009