Thursday, April 03, 2008

EU COURT RULES ON PKK

"We constantly read that terrorism is the weapon of the weak. That is totally false, the exact opposite of truth. Like any other weapon, terrorism is used much more effectively by the strong, and in particular by more powerful states which are the leaders in terrorism throughout the world, except that they call it "counter-terrorism."
~ Noam Chomsky, addressing the Kurds in Amed.


The European Court of First Instance has overturned the ruling which placed PKK on the EU's "terror" list, from IHT:


A European Union court on Thursday overturned the bloc's decision to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its political wing on the EU terror list.

The Luxembourg-based EU Court of First Instance said that decisions made by EU governments in 2002 and 2004 to blacklist the two groups and freeze their assets violated the bloc's law.

It is the latest of several court decisions overturning similar EU decisions on the grounds that the groups added to the terror list were not properly informed of the decision to blacklist them nor given a right to appeal the decision.

[ . . . ]

Europe's human rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, has said the EU's anti-terror rules violated democratic principles.

EU nations decided in April 2007 to inform groups and individuals when they are placed on the terror list. Those listed will now be able to ask why they were put on the list and why their assets are frozen. But there are still no procedures for an independent review and for compensation for possible human rights breaches.


The article mentions a similar ruling which annuled MEK's place on The List, and it's important to note that Hamas, which has been invited to Ankara by the Turkish government for warm discussions, is also on The List.

This new ruling overturns the EU's placement of PKK on the "terror" list on the basis of a technicality. Hevallo has a link to the text of the ruling and he's picked out two points from the text that he considers revealing:


40 As part of its outline of the material facts in the application, the applicant invites the Court to make certain general findings of fact in support of the applicant’s claim. These facts concern the status of the Kurds, the policy and objectives pursued by the PKK, and the relationship between the Turkish State and the Kurds.

41 The Council submits that this request is inadmissible. It observes that in the context of an application pursuant to Article 230 EC the Court is not obliged to make such general findings of fact and is entitled to concentrate on those which are directly relevant to the contested acts, which is a matter for the Court’s appreciation.


To me, this appears to mean that the lawyers for PKK attempted to present the facts of Turkey's brutal repression of Kurds and they asked for a ruling on those facts. The court then says that it isn't there to make a determination of the facts in the case that we all know as Kurds v. Turkey. Instead, they are making a determination based on whether or not the act of listing PKK was legal under EU law.

It seems to me that this is similar to what the US Supreme Court is supposed to do: It's supposed to examine federal and state statutes and executive actions to determine whether they conform to the U.S. Constitution.

This determination by the European Court of First Instance is a good first step. However, there should definitely be an open and impartial examination of the situation of the Kurdish people in Turkey by a judicial organization such as the European Court of Human Rights, and the findings must be made public. This is what Öcalan was attempting to accomplish at the time of his betrayal and capture, and it's something that is greatly needed. Therefore, this ruling is not an end; it's only a beginning.

I do agree with Hevallo's analysis that the EU doesn't want to have to admit the "facts concern[ing] the status of the Kurds, the policy and objectives pursued by the PKK, and the relationship between the Turkish State and the Kurds," because to do so would be an admittance of the legitimacy of the freedom struggle of the PKK. At such a point, it would be clear to all that UN Resolution 3103 ("Basic principles of the legal status of the combatants struggling against colonial and alien domination and racist regimes") is wholly applicable to the PKK.

In addition, it would be embarassing for the EU to admit that it's been highly supportive of the Ankara regime and its brutal repression of the Kurdish people.

Yeni Özgür Politika and Özgür Gündem are both carrying the Firat News report on the EU court's decision, and the information is basically the same as found in the IHT report. Firat did note, however, that this ruling came down in time for Öcalan's birthday (4 April).

Yeni Özgür Politika has a report on Erdoğan's visit to Sweden. Apparently he was greeted in front of the Swedish parliament by a crowd of about 300 Kurds, Armenians, and Assyrians, who welcomed Erdoğan by throwing eggs and rotten tomatoes at him. Those who launched the groceries were detained by Swedish police.

From the photo, we see that the series of photos of Cüneyt Ertuş getting his arm broken by Turkish police are prominent. The slogans chanted during the gathering included "Murderer Erdoğan!" "Terrorist Turkey!" "The PKK is the people; the people is here!" The Kurds carried signs that pointed out Turkish state terror in Kurdistan, the beating of Kurdish women by Turkish police on Newroz, and the breaking of the arms of Kurdish children for the cameras--a sure sign of the impunity that the fascist security forces continue to enjoy. The Assyrians and the Armenians made sure that Erdoğan would not forget their genocides of 1915.

Swedish Folk Party parliamentarian Friedrik Malm, recalling Erdoğan's claim in Germany that "assimilation is a crime against humanity," told Erdoğan, "Don't even say this in Sweden because you are carrying out a great assimilation." He went on to mention DTP parliamentarian Hasip Kaplan's punishment for saying, "Newroz Pîroz be," and how traffic lights are problematic because they are the Kurdish colors: yellow, red, and green.

Personally, I'm very happy to know that Erdoğan received such a warm welcome in Sweden. After all, we wouldn't want him to feel ignored.

13 comments:

madtom said...

I told you access to the courts was reason enough to want to join the EU. That is of course if your objective are to find partners in resolving your struggles for equality. If your just looking for a excuse to secede, then it's all irrelevant anyway.

Anyway I welcome a decision which is sure to make Turkey think.

Anonymous said...

I think it is an excellent first step, too.

Madtom, you shouldn't be so quick to characterize, as the Turks have done, the Kurds' struggle for 'freedom and justice' as simply a blind obsession for secession at all costs. The substance is a desire for self-rule and for meaningful representation within the political system, but as you well know, self-rule does not equate simply with secession and that there may be many solutions that work for the Kurds in Turkey.

I just wanted to point out a little tidbit from the court order:

The Court
2. Orders the Council to bear, in addition to its own costs, all the costs incurred by Osman Ocalan on behalf of the PKK before the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice;


This made me smile because the upshot of this is that the Council of the European Union would effectively be 'funding' the PKK, even if it is to cover its legal costs, and thus violate its own (misbegotten) rules.


Also:

6 Article 1(6) of Common Position 2001/931 states that 'the names of persons and entities on the list in the Annex shall be reviewed at regular intervals and at least once every six months to ensure that there are grounds for keeping them on the list'.

Is this being done? If no reasons were given to include the PKK on the List then I doubt the reasons of keeping them on there will be forthcoming...


~nistiman

madtom said...

I just hope that the clear minds within the PKK which have prevailed at times continue to prevail and so endear themselves the respect all Kurds deserve.

Mizgîn said...

If PKK was removed from The List, why were 40 Kurdish women arrested in Belgium for alleged membership in PKK on Friday?

Nothing has changed. "Democracy" is still a fantasy promulgated by hypocrites to mesmerize the masses and make them think they're "free."

At this point, any light at the end of the tunnel is the effect of hallucinogenics. For the foreseeable future, there will be no change because there are too many Deep State Susurluk-style arrangements between the Ankara regime and the vanguards of democracy.

SNAFU.

madtom said...

"At this point, any light at the end of the tunnel is the effect of hallucinogenics."

Sometimes you can use the moment to spread a message or reachout to a greater audience which might not be interested enough in the everyday. Stranger things have happened.

Who would have guessed that the Tibetan's cause would get such play. Last year you'd be hard placed to find anyone who even knew about the Chinese occupation of Tibet, and all of a sudden there is a world wide attention to their cause...But I guess to you it's all a hallucination.
Media scripted propaganda

But again it's all irrelevant to those that have already made up their mind to secede

There was a quote last week in the news, What's his name, the Kurdish regional president, lamenting the fact that the parliament has chosen to stay part of Iraq..Now what will the PKK do if Southern Kurdistan refuses in the future to join with the north in a new Kurdish state?

I mean specially if they take Kirkuk and/or find new oil deposits in the south. What incentives will there be to share that wealth with the vast empty plains of the north?

Anonymous said...

Madtom, are you for real?

Are you seriously accusing Mizgin, and impliedly the PKK, of being disappointed in the event Southern Kurdistan would proclaim their independence and won't "let" Northern Kurdistan join Southern Kurdistan?

You're a riot!!!

Even self-proclaimed Big Bad Nationalists like me wouldn't go so far as to advocate Northern and Southern Kurdistan joining together in one state!

~Nistiman

Anonymous said...

Also, I take offence that you referred to the "Chinese occupation of Tibet"...you are somehow implying that the Spiritual Leader of the Tibetans -- oh his name is on the tip of my tongue -- anyway, the Dali Something-or-Other somehow has the right to secede from China at all costs and that all those Tibetans would want to secede when they could push to live as brothers with their Chinese compatriots.

What's up with that?

Oh, I forgot, another set of principles applies to the Kurds :)

How convenient for you.

~Nistiman

madtom said...

"How convenient for you."

Me? You, not me I never said anything of the sort.
I support Kurdish right the same as I support Tibet. Both have the right to resist the apartheid governments which oppress them. But there are also international, and domestic considerations from the American point of view.

Go ahead secede from anything you want. But you cant expect us to hold your hand over what we perceive as a cliff.

Dammed if you do, dammed if you don't. If we intercede into the affairs of sovereign nations, "America the Empire". If we work with whoever is in power, "America the Collaborator", deep state and the rest...

Anyway this post was about the EU Courts..you tell me, consider all your neighbors, including Russia, you tell me where is the best place, with the strongest support for individual freedoms and human rights, and working economic models, for the Kurds? I wonder if China were offered membership in the EU if Tibetans would oppose membership.

Hamo said...

As far as I know that PKK is planning to open a compensation claim from the EU for freezing their assets and restricting their social developments. Similar case is considered to be open in the USA. After this decision by the European Court of Justice most observers agree that EU's terror list is illegal and mostly political to justify member states economical interests rather then a security measure. Remember PKK was not in the EU's or the USA's terror list until they declared cease-fire after 1999.

Mizgîn said...

Who would have guessed that the Tibetan's cause would get such play.

Probably the CIA. What a coincidence it's during the Olympic year. Or not.

Now what will the PKK do if Southern Kurdistan refuses in the future to join with the north in a new Kurdish state?

This doesn't affect PKK at all. You obviously have not read the Declaration for the Democratic Resolution of the Kurdish Question. The fact that Barzani said, "We are in the union of Iraq" is no surprise either. It's highly unlikely that the Southern leadership would want to add 20 million constituents from North Kurdistan because that would pose a threat to the power of the Southern leadership.

Hamo, if I remember correctly, the US added PKK to The List in 1997. That was the year following the "findings" of the "Clean Break" study group were adopted, which strengthened the military alliance between Turkey, Israel, and the US. This was also the plan that led to Turkish-Israeli-US cooperation in the capture of Ocalan.

madtom said...

Well if no one is planning on ever joining together, why the Northern, Southern terminology?

How exactly is this all going to work, your going to create 5 new states, northern, southern, Iran, Syria, I forget? All independent?

Elisher said...

Madtom, don't think that because southern leadership wouldn't want the reunification of North and South (because as said Mizgîn:" that would pose a threat to the power of the Southern leadership")that it won't be in the future!
Nobody knows what will think this leadership in that future and upon all the will of Kurdish Nation will certainly push in the right way.

madtom said...

Elisher,

I agree with you that the people should have a voice in such matters and that no one knows now what a parliament will do in the future. But my questions were not about what a parliament might or might not do. What I was trying to ascertained with more clarity was Mizgin political platform.

As a reader here, I am asked to support Kurdish Independence, something I can not do with my limited understanding of the facts. So I was looking for some clarity to further my own education. I appreciate you input too.

I do know, and I do support the Kurdish struggle for basic civil and human rights, as I do for all people or the world.

For the most part I put aside the very large differences between Mizgins and my own political views, and try only to focus the Issues that we have in common. my own thinking is that if we could solve all the issues we have in common, i.e.. Kurdish rights and civil liberties, the rest would work it's self out on it's own over time.