Turkey slams EU court's decision on PKK

Turkey slams EU courts decision on PKK

A top EU court's decision to annul the inclusion of the outlawed PKK on the terrorist organizations list drew harsh criticism from Turkey. Turkish Deputy PM Cemil Cicek said on Thursday the decision is "unacceptable" and “beginning of a crisis.” (UPDATED)

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"Such decision of Europe, who constantly mention justice and democracy, is unacceptable. We should ask them if... the PKK is not a terror organization, then is it a charitable institution?” he told hurriyet.com.tr.

Cicek also added if the decision is about removing the PKK from the terrorist organization's list then this will be "the beginning of a crisis," which will have hefty consequences for the Turkish nation and the state.

Luxembourg-based European Court of First Instance, the EU’s second highest court, annulled the inclusion of the outlawed PKK on a list of terrorist organizations whose funds must be frozen as part of the fight against terrorism. The court said the EU had not properly justified its decision.

The court ruled that the inclusion of the PKK on the proscribed list lacked "an adequate statement of reason." It said the PKK and its political wing, known as KONGRA-GEL, were not in positions "to understand, clearly and unequivocally, the reasoning" that led EU governments to add them to the terror list.

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The PKK was added to the list in 2002, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, and KONGRA-GEL added in 2004. The group won an appeal last year giving it the right to a hearing and a new case to have it removed from the EU list. The PKK brought action calling for the annulment to the EU court, with backing from Britain.

But a European Union spokesman said the ruling would have no practical effect. The list has subsequently been updated several times which means the ruling by the court will have no immediate effect, he told AFP.

Turkish Foreign Ministry echoed a similar view. The Ministry said on Thursday PKK remained on the EU list of terrorist groups despite the ruling. "Our initial analysis of the ruling suggests that the court issued an opinion on whether the European Council's decision complied with the EU laws, not on whether the PKK/KONGRA-GEL is a terrorist organization," a ministry spokesman said in a written response to a question.

"Allegations that the group was removed from the EU list were untrue,"  the spokesman said.

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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 or given a right to appeal the decision.

The court had followed similar reasoning in 2006 when annulling the listing of the Mojahedin Peoples Organization of Iran.

But the name of the Iranian opposition group remains on the latest version of the EU terror list along with 46 other entities including the armed Basque separatist group ETA, Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers and the Islamist group Hamas.

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In line with the 2006 court ruling on the PMOI, the European Council furnished the PKK with the reasons for its inclusion on the terror list. However, the court ruled Thursday that this should have been done when the group was first included in 2002.




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