Time has come for the EU to remove the PKK from the terrorist list and pave the way for political peace talks!
One of the long lasting conflicts in the Middle East is the Kurdish question in Turkey which continues to emerge at the core of nearly all unresolved conflicts. The EU and European countries play a crucial role in solving this unresolved problem. A courageous step forward is needed in European politics in this regard. But there is a stumbling stone ahead: The blacklisting of the PKK as a terrorist organisation represents a serious hindrance for a political solution to the Kurdish question. Dropping the” terrorism” label will help normalise the situation and encourage the democratic voices in Turkey to speak out. Peace will not be achieved by weapon or by accusing Kurds, whether they support the PKK or not. 
The time has come for EU countries and countries where Kurds reside to enter into a positive dialogue with Kurdish representatives and organisations in their communities, and for the EU to take a far more determined stance for a peaceful political solution. We assume that the EU is fully aware that blacklisting the PKK as a terrorist organization will never lead to a political solution or to the democratisation of Turkey. On the contrary, the problems are increasing. One urgent and effective step would therefore be to immediately remove the PKK from the terrorist list and thereby eliminate the arguments that enforce Turkey’s negative and destructive politics towards the Kurds.
It is an absurdity that the EU keeps up its decision to blacklist an organisation as terrorist that at least in one sense is already engaged in talks with Turkish authorities – an organisation that millions of Kurds are supporting. Blacklisting the PKK as a terrorist organization disregards the distinction between acts of terrorism and acts of resistance against a state that employs terrorist methods. Stigmatising a group as ‘terrorist’, as the EU does in this case, is an effective means of excluding the group from the political arena.
The EU Counter-terrorism Coordinator, Mr. Gilles de Kerchove emphasised to Ararat News (12.9.2011); […] that there is no terror threat from Kurdish organisations, including PKK, on European soil against EU-member countries. But the many million supported PKK is still in the EU terror list since 2002. 
Commenting on the MIT-PKK talks tape with the PKK, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said a nonviolent climate was the precondition for this kind of process. “Unfortunately the ground for negotiations vanishes when there are terror acts,” he said. “We only talk to those who want to talk and not those who flex muscles against the state” (Hurryiet Daily News 8.9.2011)
This statement clearly shows that Turkey is not ready for a political solution. It is a well-known fact that the PKK has created conditions for peace talks several times since the 1990s.  It is not the PKK that create terror acts or flex muscles; this is perfectly accomplished by the Turkish state itself like the recent major escalation of the armed conflict initiated by Turkey and Iran aiming at destroying the PKK. As a matter of urgency the EUTCC call on the EU to remove the PKK from the terrorist list. Instead of blacklisting, a constructive first step would to arrange for initial talks with representatives of the PKK.
Kariane Westrheim – Michael Gunter – Hans Branscheidt
Chair of EUTCC  – Secretary General – Board of Directors
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