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philjit
Arch-Enemy of Idealism

Registered: Jan 2002
Location: UK
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Why the Turks are Popular in Tony Blairs Downing Street

quote:
The practice of banning terrorist organisations has always seemed as pointless as it is inconsistent. If David Blunkett were to ban organisations that represent the interests of dogma-driven minorities who take people's lives, large sections of Britain's railways would have been banned years ago. Railtrack would issue a statement renaming itself The Real Railtrack (continuity wing).

Maintenance contractors would have to hold their annual general meetings in secret, and company directors would be hurried into the room in balaclavas and shades, before announcing that year's dividend. I know some of you are already muttering: "Mark, Mark, you can't compare railway companies to the IRA or the UVF." You're right, the IRA would normally phone in a warning before killing a member of the public.

Surely it must have occurred to Blunkett, and previous home secretaries, that potential terrorists are not going to be put off joining terrorist groups because the groups are banned. As a rule, people who are prepared to plant bombs and commit murder generally have a disregard for legal niceties. Expecting banning orders to reduce terrorism is a little bit like expecting the Highway Code to prevent drive-by shootings. When was the last time anyone saw groups of armed men speeding from a killing, shouting: "Mirror, signal, manoeuvre! For God's sake, do you want to lose points on your licence?!"

Jack Straw's banning of 21 foreign organisations early last year led the way for much of Europe's overreactive anti-terror laws, which followed in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center. However, it was perhaps the inclusion of the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party) on the list that caused most concern. The PKK has fought a cruel war with the Turkish state: more than 30,000 people have been killed, between three and four million Kurds have been displaced and about 3,500 Kurdish villages and towns destroyed. The PKK members are not angels and they have undoubtedly committed atrocities, but three years ago they declared a ceasefire which has, by and large, held. They also announced their intentions to seek a Kurdish state through non-violent, democratic means. Had the PKK been Irish republicans or Northern Irish loyalists, their behaviour would not have seen them banned. On the contrary, by now the leaders would be running education departments.

So why did new Labour ban the PKK in April 2001? The answer, as it is with many questions of new Labour, is money. Turkey is the Richard Desmond of the British arms and construction world. It might attract bad publicity, but it does put its money in the right places.

When it comes to working and promoting trade with a state that has the worst human rights record this side of Iraq, Labour has no qualms. Perhaps if the Turkish authorities published "Hard-core Pictures of Torturers' Wives!", new Labour might be less keen. Quite simply, the PKK was banned to please a valued client. The rest of the European Union followed suit on 2 May this year, adding the PKK to the list of terrorist organisations, even though the PKK disbanded in April.

Turkey is enjoying its new-found international muscle, and is about to take command of the 18-nation UN security force in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia's reluctance to allow US planes to operate from there has left the field open for Turkey to play host to Bush's bombers, which is especially important if Iraq is going to be invaded. None of this will be lost on the EU.

The day after the EU decision, Turkish police arrested 11 members of Egitim-Sen (the education union) in Mardin. Their crime was learning the Kurdish language. According to Egitim-Sen, the 11, including a pregnant woman, Sermin Erbas, were subjected to beatings, denied food for three days and nights, had plastic bags forced on to their heads, were left naked, and assaulted with pressurised hoses. Sermin Erbas fell into a coma as a result of this treatment, and she is still in a critical condition.

That same day, emboldened by the EU action, the Turkish military began operations in the Kurdish areas, employing its customary arbitrary detention and torture. On 25 May, the Turkish military entered the Kurdish region of Metina in Iraq. According to local reports, thousands of soldiers deploying tanks and rockets on the ground and Cobra helicopters in the air began their attack at around 3.30am. It is claimed that at least 17 people lost their lives. The EU's actions, far from preventing terror, appear to have hastened it: they have given Turkey the green light for its human rights abuses.

Now Turkey is calling for Kadek (the political party formed by the PKK) and Hadep, a long-standing pro-Kurdish, democratic political party, to be banned in Europe. Clearly, the UK and the EU have actively encouraged Turkey's own state terror.

by Mark Thomas

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Old Post 06-11-2002 05:13 PM
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oxsan
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Registered: Nov 2001
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In my mist beclouded old age have I missed a major point? Is not Turkey a NATO member and full partner? Admittedly not one with an enlightened EU outlook, I'll admit. And maybe I am wrong, maybe they are not NATO members.

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Old Post 06-12-2002 02:19 PM
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oxsan
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In my mist beclouded old age have I missed a major point? Is not Turkey a NATO member and full partner? Admittedly not one with an enlightened EU outlook, I'll admit. And maybe I am wrong, maybe they are not NATO members.

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Don't kick until yer spurred.

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Old Post 06-12-2002 02:31 PM
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Mugtoe
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In yer mist-beclouded old age yer double-posting.

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Old Post 06-12-2002 05:59 PM
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oxsan
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But it is not my fault the computer drew first.

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Old Post 06-12-2002 07:24 PM
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philjit
Arch-Enemy of Idealism

Registered: Jan 2002
Location: UK
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they are NATO memebrs, but that means nothing in this specific really. NATO is a defence pact, nothing more. It has no moral, political, or economic element other than collective defence. They want to join the EU but we won't let them.

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Old Post 06-12-2002 07:26 PM
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oxsan
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I think that it is rather snobbish of you not to let them , Phil.

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Old Post 06-12-2002 09:08 PM
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philjit
Arch-Enemy of Idealism

Registered: Jan 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 13056

quote:
Originally posted by oxsan
I think that it is rather snobbish of you not to let them , Phil.


its not at all. They do not fit the criteria, they have shuddy human rights records and their institutions lack democratic accountability and their justice system is a joke. That's why they are not being allowed in. Entry into the EU has treatied requirements, and the Turks have been trying for years to reach them, but to no avail.

quote:

'Accession will take place as soon as an applicant is able to assume the obligations of membership by satisfying the economic and political conditions required'. At the same time, the Member States designed the membership criteria, which are often referred to as the Copenhagen Criteria.

As stated in Copenhagen, membership requires that the candidate country has achieved:

stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;

the existence of a functioning market economy as well as the capacity to cope with competitive pressure and market forces within the Union;

the ability to take on the obligations of membership including adherence to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.

has created :

the conditions for its integration through the adjustment of its administrative structures, so that European Community legislation transposed into national legislations implemented effectively through appropriate administrative and judicial structures.

Last edited by philjit on 06-12-2002 at 09:27 PM

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