|'Turkey, the Kurds and the European Union'|
European Parliament Hosts Second International Conference, 19-20 September 2005
Ahead of the October start of Turkey's membership talks with the European Union, the European Parliament is to host the largest conference yet on the controversial issues raised by Turkey's potential accession.
The two-day conference, being held at the European Parliament in Brussels from 19 to 20 September, has been organised by EU-Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) with the support of Kurdish Human Rights Project, Medico International, the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and Rafto Foundation.
Participants at the conference will focus discussions not only on Turkey's compliance with EU accession standards, but also the European Commission's effectiveness at monitoring that compliance.
It is hoped the event will prove as successful as the last held in November 2004, which led directly to the establishment of a body exclusively mandated to monitoring Turkey's compliance with EU accession criteria, the EUTCC. 
The conference will bring together European Parliament President Josep Borrell and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, Danielle Mitterand (spouse of the late Francois Mitterand), and Vice-President of the Bar Human Rights Committee Mark Muller, among other leading politicians, human rights defenders, academics, lawyers and experts on the Kurdish issue. The patron of the conference is Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Participants from Turkey are expected to include prominent Kurdish writer Mehmet Uzun.
Discussion will focus on the future for the Kurds in Turkey and of the EU-Turkey negotiating framework, and develop strategies for ensuring peaceful conflict resolution between the government and the Kurds.
Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director of KHRP and Director of the EUTCC, says, "We are in favour of Turkey becoming a member of the EU, but believe it should not be hastened for political reasons unconnected with the country's democratic progress. Genuine scrutiny offered now could be exactly what is required to transform Turkey into the modern, open and multicultural country we all want it to be."