Lawyer Tamara Buruma, part of the legal team representing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)* before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), said that vague anti-terrorism legislation, similar to that of Turkey, exists within Europe, and that this makes it hard for the EU to hold Turkey accountable for misusing its own anti-terrorism legislation as a tool of repression.
Speaking to Mezopotamya News Agency, Buruma also stressed that in the case of listing the PKK as a ‘terrorist organisation’, a decision that was actually politically motivated was made into a legal decision.
“I think what you see here is that it’s a very political decision to list an organisation. But they have made it into a legal decision. And you get this place where a political and legal spheres sort of run through each other. And I think that this case really exemplifies that, you can only describe a political situation in legal terms up to a certain point. And by trying to do that, you are playing into the hands of a country like Turkey that uses ‘lawfare’ to abuse the law and abuse anti-terrorism legislation, to really repress a lot of people. And you’re playing into their hands by in essence allowing for similar legal systems to take place within Europe. And I’m not saying that the European Union is using it the same way as Turkey. Obviously it’s not. But it is making vague anti-terrorism legislation.”
“Once your own anti-terrorism legislation is very vague, it offers an excuse for other countries to do the same. And so I think it’s important that we try to get that established within the European Union, if only so we can use that as a sharper argument against, for example, Turkish governments, to say, ‘Look, the way you are abusing anti terrorism legislation is wrong and you are misusing that.'”
‘Not de-listing the PKK offers Turkey an incentive not to come to the table’
She voiced her objection to the European Council’s approach of delisting an organisation only in the case of a peace settlement, like the one involving the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia).
“The Council has argued several times, saying, ‘Look at the FARC. We took the FARC off the list once there was a peace agreement.’ And the court actually asked the Council, ‘Look, does that mean that an organisation can only be taken off the list once the peace agreement is there? Because to get a peace agreement, you need two sides to cooperate.’ Is it fair to always say, we will take you off the list once there is a peace agreement, when actually maybe Turkey won’t go into negotiations, and when that offers one of the parties an incentive not to come to the table, because they know that as long as they’re not part of the discussion, the other party remains on the terrorism list.”
* Tamara Buruma represents the PKK in the case against the decision of the European Council to include the former in the list of terrorist organisations.