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Turkey Launches First Kurdish Language TV Channel

Turkey has launched its first 24-hour television station broadcasting entirely in the once-banned Kurdish language.

The station TRT 6 began broadcasting Thursday in Kurdish, Farsi and Arabic. The state-run channel is devoted solely to Turkey's estimated 15 million Kurdish population.

The channel will air news, music and sports programs. There are also women's and children's programs.

Some analysts consider the new channel a sort of revolution for Turkey, considering that between 1983 and 1991 it was illegal to speak Kurdish.

But others say it is not enough because the government still strictly controls the use of Kurdish in state documents and private Kurdish radio and television channels.

Turkey is under pressure from the European Union to strengthen minority rights for the Kurdish population.

Turkey has been fighting Kurdish rebels, the Kurdistan Workers Party, since 1984. The rebels want autonomy in southeastern Turkey. At least 37,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.