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RESEARCH EXTRA


Monday, June 07, 2004

Turkey and the EU

Today's JURIST Paper Chase reports that a Turkish appeals court has overturned the convictions of four former Kurdish lawmakers and that the convictions had been seen as a setback for Turkey's European Union membership.Turkey wishes to become a member of the European Union, but the EU has concerns about Turkey’s human rights record. Human Rights Watch reports that people in Turkey face prosecution and prison for using forbidden minority languages or expressing opinions on certain taboo subjects. Turkey’s Constitution originally denied the existence of any ethnic sub-groups, which effectively denied the Kurdish minority the right to speak their own language. However, the Constitution has been amended several times and the most recent amendments (2001) to Turkey's Constitution affirm freedom and privacy for the individual. The court's overturning of the convictions of the four former Kurdish lawmakers (Leyla Zana, Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak and Orhan Dogan) for belonging to an illegal political party may signal that the reforms necessary for admission to the EU are being taken seriously.



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