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EU-Turkey Civic Commission Kurdish-Turkish reconciliation 'achievable' if action taken now

EU-Turkey Civic Commission
Kurdish-Turkish reconciliation ´achievable´ if action taken now, concludes international conference

Erdogan´s historic acknowledgement of a Kurdish question combined with the month-long ceasefire from Kurdish military groups afford a platform from which true reconciliation is achievable, according to leading authorities at a European Parliament conference in Brussels today.

The conference highlighted the necessity of a resolution to the ongoing crisis in Turkey´s Kurdish south-east, in advance of the European Commission´s likely decision on 3 October 2005 to open accession talks with Turkey.

However, more steps can and must be taken by all sides, including the establishment of a truth commission in Turkey and by inviting Kurds to the table in Europe, conference organisers concluded.

The ´Second International Conference on the EU, Turkey and the Kurds´ - the largest conference yet on the controversial issues raised by Turkey´s EU accession - was organised by the EU-Turkey Civic Commission with the support of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, Medico International, Rafto Foundation and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales.

A final resolution highlighting steps for all parties to the conflict to take was agreed by conference speakers and participants, including Members of the European Parliament; non-governmental organisation representatives; Turkish, Kurdish and European politicians, academics, writers and others recognised to be leading authorities.

The EUTCC underlined its commitment to the negotiation process, acknowledging that the debate in Europe has moved beyond technical compliance with the Copenhagen Criteria, while recognising the necessity of total compliance. Both parties should work together to monitor the implementation of reforms, particularly in respect of fundamental rights, democracy and the rule of law, the Resolution continues.

The Turkish Government was urged to renew the reform process with the commencement of accession negotiations, and to fully implement legislative reforms so far enacted. Political reform to state institutions and an end to ethnic nationalism were also considered essential.

The EUTCC welcomed the European Commission´s commitment to continued monitoring of the political elements of Turkey´s reform process. The Commission was urged to use its good offices to actively develop a democratic platform whereby the constituent elements of Turkey, including Kurds, could freely enter into dialogue and debate with the Government over possible reform to the Constitution and an end to ethnic hostilities.