Sunday, November 29, 2009

EU draft motion urges Turkey to ensure Kurdish rights


EU welcomes Turkey’s steps to address Kurdish issues, but calls for more solid measures

Rudaw- A draft motion submitted to the EU parliament for the EU resolution on
Turkey’s progress report of 2009 by Ria Oomen-Ruijten welcomes the efforts of the Turkish government to resolve the Kurdish issue, but calls for more concrete measures to address the grievances of the Kurdish minority in Turkey. The adoption of the final resolution is scheduled in February 2010 and needs a majority vote of the EU parliament.

According to the motion, which can still be changed, the number of concrete reforms remained limited in 2009 and encouraged Turkey to translate its political initiatives into concrete changes of legislation and their subsequent implementation. The draft also deplores the reservation of Turkey to not sign laws concerned to the rights of the minorities and urged Turkey to foster a climate of respect towards minorities.

The EU motion talks about concrete measures, like ensuring real opportunities to learn Kurdish within the public and private schooling systems, reform proposals to stop the closure case against the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) before the Constitutional Court, allowing for Kurdish to be used in political life and in access to public services, changes in anti-terror laws that are misused to
restrict fundamental freedoms and to abolish the system of village guards in the south-east of Turkey. The EU motion also calls for increased efforts to limit abuses of the freedom of speech and press freedom and to increase the zero tolerance policy of torture.

The motion also urged the parliament to ensure immunity to all members of parliament, without discrimination, referring to court cases against Kurdish mps, while ignoring their immunity. The EU motion also condemned the ‘continuing violence perpetrated by the PKK and other terrorist groups on Turkish soil’. It called on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to respond to the political initiative of the Turkish Government by laying down its arms and putting an end to violence.

The motion also welcomes improvements of the relations with Iraq and the Kurdish regional government, but stresses that “any anti-terrorist operation that is conducted fully respects Iraq´s territorial integrity, human rights and international law, and that civilian casualties are avoided.” It also welcomes Turkey’s signing of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Nabucco gas pipeline, “the implementation of which remains one of the EU's highest energy
security priorities”.

© Rudaw