European Court of Justice to rule on delisting the PKK

The lawsuit filed to the European Court of Justice, demanding the lifting of the PKK from the EU's list of terrorist organizations, opens on Monday 16 April, writes Yeni Özgür Politika.

The PKK has been on the EU's list of terrorist organizations since 2002. Acting on behalf of PKK leaders Murat Karayılan and Duran Kalkan, the Prakken d'Oliveira Law Office in the Netherlands has presented a file every six months when the new list is written and then the file went to the European Court of Justice.

Next Monday the trial will open aiming at lifting the PKK from the list of terrorist organisations. Zübeyir Aydar, member of the KCK Executive Council, and Mahmut Şakar, attorney of the International Association for Human Rights and Democracy (MAF-DAD), talked about the past and possible consequences of the case.

"The basic demand in this case is that the PKK should be removed from the terrorist list," said Lawyer Sakar, adding: "So far, the process has walked through mutual internal correspondence at administrative court". Now an hearing will be held on 16 April. There will be one hearing. The court will then announce its decision on the cancellation application. The decision is expected to be announced next September or October and the parties have the right to appeal. Attorneys representing the PKK officials will be present at the meeting.

Sakar said: "The European Union Council, the European Commission and Britain have been involved in the case to keep the PKK on the list. in fact, countries like the UK have been acting almost on behalf of Turkey to keep the PKK on this list”.

KCK Executive Council Member Zübeyir Aydar underlined that accusing the PKK of being a "terrorist organization" and keeping the PKK on the EU's list of terrorist organizations is an "unfair and political decision”, adding that: "The PKK is on that list at the request of Turkey".

Aydar underlined that indeed by the criteria defining a “terrorist” organization, the PKK cannot be listed as such. Indeed, he said, “who is attacking Kurds? Turkey is: whether in Turkey, or Rojava or even in Paris”, he added referring to the killing on 9 January 2013 of three kurdish women politicians and activists in the French capital, Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Layla Saylemez.

"In 34 years of war - said Aydar - Turkey have used all heavy weapons against Kurds. They used tanks, planes, helicopters, balls, all heavy weapons were used in this war. They even used chemical weapons. Turkey is a country with the highest number of political prisoners in the world, where many journalists are in prison. There is no right, no law. Kurds have the right to defend themselves against such a country. We want the court to confirm this”.

Should the Court reject the demands of lawyers, said Sakar: “This would be a gift to Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan and his work, something like rewarding him”.

Sakar also pointed out that “the court can address this historic issue on the terrorist discourse with a new language that will serve as a democratic solution. A positive decision will provide a different scenario, especially in view of the rightful and legitimate demands of the Kurdish people”.

It has to be reminded that in Belgium a Court ruled that the PKK is not a terrorist organization in the case against Zübeyir Aydar, Remzi Kartal, and other 36 people. The defense lawyers will bring this decision to the hearing in Luxembourg, next Monday.

"For the first time, a European court has ruled that the PKK is not a terrorist organization because there is a war in the country, and the PKK is one of the warring party" Şakar said, adding that the Luxembourg court should take this sentence into account in its own deliberation.

The European Court of Justice is the highest court in the European Union. The court consists of two parts. The General Court, which acts as a first-instance court, and the Court of Justice, which is also the appeal authority. The case filed for removal of the PKK from the list or terrorist organisations will be heard in the General Court.

Lawmakers and non-governmental members have been invited to assist to the hearing next Monday. The court is open to the public.

After the hearing, the lawyers will inform the press. The court will announce its decision on the removal application at a later date.

The address of the court, which will open on Monday, April 16th at 09:30 in Luxembourg:

General Court Rue du fort Niedergrünewald


L-2925 / Luxembourg