Turkey called on the EU yesterday to take active steps against the PKK and indicated that listing it as a terrorist organization is not enough; more is expected from the union.
"We need to increase our cooperation in the fight against Daesh. Even though the PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by the EU, it can conduct campaigns in many European countries. The EU needs to do more than list the group as terrorist," Deputy Foreign Minister and Director for European Union Affairs, Faruk Kaymakçı said at a speech at the 38th Turkey-EU joint advisory committee in Brussels. The PKK terrorist organization has been acting freely in some EU member states, disseminating constant propaganda against the Turkish government, which has been raising concerns in Ankara. Turkey repeatedly stresses that the PKK is a terrorist group which poses security threats to the country. Therefore Ankara has called on the EU to avoid tolerating the activities of the group.
In last November, the European Court of Justice ruled to keep the PKK on the EU's terror list. The PKK had applied to the court in May 2014 in order to be relieved of the restrictions placed upon it due to the terror attacks it had carried out. It has been on the EU terror list since 2002.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. Touching on Turkey's EU process, Kaymakçı stressed that the European Parliament's call to suspend Turkey's accession talks was a grave mistake. In March, the European Parliament voted against Turkey's EU accession negotiations and called on the European countries to formally suspend the process. A total of 370 lawmakers voted in favor, 109 against and 143 abstained.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu rejected the recommendation, which is not legally binding, stating: "It is not possible for us to attribute any value to the one-sided and non-objective approach adopted by the European Parliament." Underlining the importance of visa liberalization, which is part of updating the customs union, Kaymakçı also highlighted that "visa liberalization and updating [the] customs union are part of a win-win strategy." He stressed that EU membership will remain a key objective for Turkey.
EU membership remains a top strategic g
oal for Turkey even though the accession talks, formally launched in 2004, have been stalled for years due to the objections of the Greek Cypriot administration on the divided island of Cyprus as well as opposition from Germany and France.
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