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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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Dialogue on the EU, Turkey and the Kurds Continues in Brussels
Thursday, 04 February 2010 07:16

The Sixth International Conference on the EU, Turkey and the Kurds continues at the European Parliament today, with sessions dedicated to promoting discussion around progress on EU-Turkey accession, human rights and democratisation.


After yesterday's debate on recent peace initiatives, the morning session commenced with a speech by Emin Aktar, Chairman of the Diyarbakir Bar Association in Turkey. He spoke about the need for the Turkish government to uphold international standards and outlined ongoing human rights abuses, particularly with regard to violations of children's rights, freedom of expression and the right to freely associate. He also spoke of the need to fight actions to close political parties, which restrict political debate in the country.


Richard Howitt, MEP for the UK Socialists and Democrats Group, followed by expressing his deep regret of the banning of the DTP, and played tribute to Mark Muller QC, and the work of the KHRP in championing human rights issues in the Kurdish regions before the EU. He also talked about Turkey’s need to embrace minority rights if it is to join the EU, and to tackle their misplaced fear that these are somehow a threat to the unity of the state.


The session also included Baroness Sarah Ludford, MEP for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, who spoke of the need for a strong working political system in Turkey, which can respect and not impede obligations placed on EU member states to protect human rights. She outlined problems including ongoing human rights abuses, such as the growing criminalisation of children, the excessive power of the military, and the persistent closure of political parties, contending that the failure to solve the Kurdish issue distorts the whole of the Turkish system.


The final session later this afternoon will turn the delegate’s attention to discussion around a possible roadmap for the Kurdish resolution and the EU’s role in facilitating this process.


'In the aftermath of the latest closure decision against a pro-Kurdish party, the imposition of overseas travel bans and the lifting of their MP’s parliamentary immunity, as well as the widespread arrest and detention of politicians, lawyers and human rights defenders, the need to promote democracy-building in Turkey is all-too-clear,' said KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yildiz. ‘The Sixth International Conference at the European Parliament is a timely and critical platform to promote debate, and as a potential EU-member state, to review Turkey’s compliance with the accession criteria and its obligations to uphold the human rights of each and everyone of its citizens.’