Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Transit Issues

In addition to military cooperation and intelligence sharing to fight the PKK in northern Iraq, President Bush promised Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to take some steps to address "transit issues" and "issues with money". What he's referring to is the difficulty Turkey has had convincing the EU to take more aggressive action on the PKK's representatives and front groups operating in Europe. According to a report in Today's Zaman, for example, France has had a policy since the Jospin government of refusing to extradite French-based PKK agents, allowing several of them to disappear despite being on an Interpol "red list" and under police surveillance. Another was able to leave the country and eventually fly, via Vienna, to Iraq:

French and Turkish experts on the PKK file attribute the French government’s attitude toward the PKK to a “political decision” made during the socialist government of Lionel Jospin in 1998. The socialist government had decided not to extradite the PKK militants, even if there were international arrest warrants for them, on grounds of “capital punishment, human rights violations and torture” in Turkey. Turkish requests for extradition and diplomatic notes issued since 1998 are still waiting to be taken into consideration by the French Justice Ministry. Although Turkey has abolished the death penalty and implemented reforms in human rights, the French attitude has not changed. In other words, while it recognizes the PKK as a terrorist organization and condemns its terrorist attacks, France still condones the presence of the terrorist organization in its territories.

The article goes on to say that France "seems to be changing its attitude". Bush's success in getting more such attitude adjustments from our European allies could very well play a role in determining the outcome of the PKK crisis. Good thing we have such an abundance of goodwill over there.

 Update: Or over here, seeing as "over there" is where I am.

Posted by Judah in:  European Union   Turkey   

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