ANP- 4/3/2008 / Brussel – The Kurdo-Turkish conference which was organised by EU Parliament 3th and 4th of Mars has ended. The conference called ‘The new Civil Constitution and the Kurdish question in Turkey’ was supported by the main European political parties in EU-Parliament as Socialist Group, the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the Group of the Greens / European Free Alliance.

The organisators of the conference, early last month declared the aim of the conference as “to explore and better understand the political debate surrounding the new constitution, its implications for the position of the Kurds in Turkey and its connection to Turkey’s accession process”.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn, Hannes Swoboda (PES), Joost Lagendijk (MEP, The Greens/EFA), Andrew Duff (MEP, ALDE) and Jan Marinus Wiersma (MEP, PES) was playing a central role to bring the Kurds and Turks together for better understanding, peace and dialog. However all of the the representatives of Kurdish political parties show big interest to participate in conference while there was no any Turkish officially, only “diplomats”/ and “observators” “just to listened”. Observers in conference said, “This is a clear sign that the AKP/government and other political parties has not any power or to say. But the only power in Ankara to solve the Kurdish conflict is generals but so long they are not interested for peace and dialog. They need Kurdish guerrillas in mountain to have enemy to not loose the power they have.

Even so, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Reihn, Hannes Swoboda (PES), Joost Lagendijk (MEP, The Greens/EFA), Andrew Duff (MEP, ALDE) and Jan Marinus Wiersma (MEP, PES) was hopefully and they appealed to Ankara for constitutional reforms in Turkey.

Commissioner Olli Rehn, asked openly to the Turkish authorities to make use of the reform of Turkey’s constitution to reinforce the rule of law and fundamental freedoms for all citizens, including
Kurds, thereby establishing the political conditions needed to pursue the process of joining the EU.
‘Fundamental freedoms must be in the heart of the constitutional reform,’ said Olli Rehn on Monday 3
March at a conference in Brussels organised by MEPs Joost Lagendijk (Greens/EFA), Hannes Swoboda (PES) and Andrew Duff (ALDE) on the new civil constitution and the Kurdish question in Turkey. Rehn said the European Commission had not yet seen the draft constitution and
it was therefore impossible to assess the work in progress, but he said he hoped there would be an
inclusive debate to ensure the future constitution had a ‘broad basis in civil society’. After a slowing of
the political reform process in 2006 and 2007, the Commission feels that all the conditions are now in
place for 2008 to be the year of reform in Turkey. The adoption of a new Basic Law in February, crucial for ensuring proper protection of non-Muslim communities in Turkey, was a good start but has to be followed by further reforms like the scrapping or amendment of Article 301 of the penal code, warned Rehn. In its reforms, he said Turkey had to follow the priorities set out in the new accession partnership (see EUROPE 9593), which also include measures to improve the social, economic and cultural rights of the Kurds in Turkey. Their situation has improved over recent years but much progress remains to be made, said Rehn, adding that he was encouraged by the plans of the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, for things like a Kurdish language television channel.

The conference was attended by high-ranking Kurdish representatives, including the President of the DTP Group in Turkish parliament (TGNA) Ahmet Türk, Şerafettin Elçi, President of the KA-DEP and
former Minister, President of HAKPAR Sertaç Bucak and many other representatives of different Kurdish political parties in EU-diaspora.

The head of Mission of Kurdistan Regional Government in European Union Mission, Burhan Jaf was also invited in the conference.