European Union

   The European Union has influenced the Kurdish problem, especially in Turkey. This is because of Turkey's longtime goal, set by Ataturk himself, to achieve the level of contemporary civilization. In recent years, of course, this has come to mean membership in what has become the EU. To meet and successfully implement the EU Copenhagen Criteria for membership, however, Turkey must in effect solve its Kurdish problem in a democratic manner.
   In recent years the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has handed down numerous judgments ordering Turkey (a party to the court) to make compensation for crimes committed by its official agents against ethnic Kurds who are (or were before they were murdered) citizens of Turkey. Turkey also suspended its death sentence against Abdullah Ocalan in November 1999 and then commuted it to a life term in prison because of its EU candidacy.
   On 3 October 2005, the EU officially began candidacy talks with Turkey. As of 2010, however, discussion has only begun on 10 of the 35 chapters that are to be agreed. France has blocked consideration of 5 of these chapters, while 8 more have been delayed because of the Cyprus issue. France, Germany, and Austria are the three EU members most opposed to Turkish membership, while Great Britain, Italy, and Spain favor it.
   The EU issues an annual progress report on Turkey, which provides a treasure trove of data pertaining to the situation. The EU progress report issued on 5 November 2008 did not criticize Turkey's ruling AK Party as harshly as it might have probably due to the party's near death experience with the Constitutional Court during the year in review. Nevertheless, the report made it clear that the EU was not satisfied with the lack of reforms on issues including human rights and the protection of minorities, democracy and the rule of law, corruption, and the role of the military, among others. On the other hand, the EU also has listed the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) as a terrorist organization since 2002 and its political wing known as KONGRA-GEL since 2004.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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