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Posted on on April 4th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (

April 3, 2008   by Honor Mahony from Brussels for EUobserver.

An EU court has annulled a decision by EU member states to put the Kurdish rebel group PKK on the bloc’s terror list.

The court of first instance, the EU’s second highest court, said putting the group on the list and freezing its assets was illegal because the decision had not been properly justified.

The PKK started an armed struggle to set up a Kurdish state in south-eastern Turkey in 1984. Turkey says it is responsible for around 40,000 deaths since this date. The US also considers the PKK to be a terrorist group.

{Had the Turkish government negotiated with their Kurdish citizens the autonomy of the region, and led to the formation of a bi-national Turkish State – they would have enlarged the state to include Iraq’s Kurdistan, and have helped solve not just the regional political situation, but also   strengthe the Turkish economy and made themselves a point of interest in EU expansion and enhanced Turkey’s position as a link to the Turkic Central Asia – longtime comment}

The court has struck similar blows to the standing of the EU terror list in the past. In July last year it overturned a decision by member states to freeze the assets of Philippine rebel leader Jose Maria Sison and the Al-Aqsa foundation, based in the Netherlands.

It found that the EU had breached the rights of both parties by not telling them why their assets had been frozen.

In December 2006, the court found that member states had failed to give sufficient reasons for including exiled Iranian opposition group, the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI) on the list.

The EU’s terror list has also come up for criticism from other quarters. The Council of Europe, the continent’s human rights watchdog, recently said that the procedures used by both the European Union and the United Nations to include individuals or organisations on the list was “completely arbitrary.”

According to a report made by the organisation, once on the list “it is almost impossible” to get off – the PMOI group remains on the list.

The EU has blacklisted around 50 people or groups including the radical Palestinian group Hamas and the Basque separatists, ETA. has expressed in the past that in these cases and in many other cases the listing and the mandatory required actions of economic boycot are completely valid – but when this is done just because of the intent to comply to some mistaken position of an outside favored government – like the one taken by Turkey, this is not justified. Imagine similarity lines between the Turkish Kurds and the Tibetans in China – the first group was listed while the second group is supported! This obviously does not cover the case of Hamas, Hezbullah, the Al-Aksa Foundation   –   organizations that are not interested in autonomy but rather in the destruction of an existing legally established State of Israel. This is a totally different story and clearly should be listed as teror Inc. – like Al Qaeda.}

The list was established in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

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