Tuesday, December 15, 2009

EU rapporteur: Spain and Turkey are different


By Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Brussels - The pro-Kurdish party DTP was banned by the Turkish constitutional court on Friday. The court was drawing a parallel to the case of Basque separatist party Batasuna in Spain. But European Parliament’s rapporteur told Rudaw that there is a major difference between Turkey and Spain.

The Spanish government banned Batasuna, because the party refused to condemn ETA’s terrorist attacks and its support for ETA, which is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU. This ban was accepted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), despite of an appeal of Batasuna. The Turkish court referred to this court case for justifying the ban on the DTP, since the party also didn’t condemn the violence of the PKK, which is also listed as a terrorist organization.

According to EU’s rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten there is one main difference between Spain and Turkey, ‘the legal provision on the closure of political parties’. “The Council of Europe has a specific commission (Venetia Commision) that looks if this legal provisions are in line with the accepted EU norms. Bans are possible, but under strict conditions.”

Ria Oomen-Ruijten argued that the European Council has asked Turkey several times to change the Turkish legal provisions concerning the ban of political parties. “The European Commission also underlines this in it’s yearly progress report. This is also my general criticism.”

Despite of the ban, Oomen-Ruijten called on the AKP-government to continue it’s democratic opening to solve the Kurdish question. In an earlier press statement Ria Oomen-Ruijten said she regretted the ban, particularly at a time when there was hope for an opening towards a lasting solution for the problems of the citizens of Kurdish origin and a genuine effort for a public debate on a democratic opening. “I consider this decision a setback for the democratization of Turkey. I call on all political parties and civil society to show restraint and continue their work for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Turkey”.

The DTP plans to appeal Turkish political ban to ECHR in six months, dismissing the similarity to Spain's Batasuna in the top court's ruling. DTP’s deputy Kaplan said: “The closure of Batasuna is nothing like our case. The Basque region in Spain is an autonomous region. This region was demanding separation from the country, and Batasuna had structured links with ETA. We do not have such links with the PKK,” reports Today’s Zaman in it’s press roundup (Photo: flickr.com).

© Rudaw