|European Commission Recognises ‘the Kurdish Issue’, but Insufficiently Fulfils its Role as ...|
European Commission Recognises ‘the Kurdish Issue', but Insufficiently Fulfils its Role as ‘Implementer'
On the day of the release by the European Commission of 2006 Turkey Progress Report, the Kerim Yildiz, Executive Director of the Kurdish Human Rights Project welcomed the Commission’s direct acknowledgement of the plight of Turkey’s Kurdish people in its report. By stating for the first time in recent years that a comprehensive strategy should be pursued in order to achieve the ‘establishment of conditions for the Kurdish population to enjoy full rights and freedoms’, the Commission has made a positive step forward in recognizing that the Kurdish minority in Turkey face daily discrimination because of their ethnicity.
KHRP also welcomes its direct criticism of the barriers religious minorities face. Nonetheless, while the Commission Report confirms that there has been a slowdown in the reform process in Turkey — particularly in relation to the highly controversial Article 301 in the Turkish Penal Code and the provisions of the new Anti-Terror Law— its criticism in relation to fundamental human rights and the protection of minorities remains halting, cautious and ambiguous.
In citing example after example of the lack of progress, (e.g. 2100 new cases filed at the European Court of Human Rights, with over 70% claiming a violation of the right to a fair trial, to property a right to life or of the prohibition of torture or ill-treatment; no progress made on Turkey’s approach towards minority rights; little change in the situation as regards rights of the child and right to education especially for women and girls), the European Commission failed in its duty to call Turkey to account for lack of compliance with the Copenhagen Criteria.
The Commission expresses special concern in relation to the situation internationally displaced people (IDPs), and concludes that there has been no further progress in this regard. The Kurdish Human Rights projects welcomes the Commission’s criticism of the Turkish government on this point, but regrets the Commission’s failure to recognise the problem as an international issue, and the direct role it could and should play in bringing redress and relief to those displaced.
The conclusion of the 2006 Progress Report is that the Turkish reform process has slowed down (maintaining the principle of ‘sufficient fulfilment’ of the Copenhagen Criteria as the standard by which the Commission should measure progress). By not unequivocally condemning Turkey’s violation of fundamental freedoms and human rights, KHRP finds the Report insufficient.
Rachel Bernu, Rebecca Sammut or Kerim Yildiz