Euro Court Condemns Turkey for Banning Kurds

STRASBOURG (Reuters)–The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday found Turkey guilty of violating the right to free association for banning a pro-Kurdish political party.

Turkey’s constitutional court outlawed the Freedom and Democracy Party (Ozdep) in July 1993–saying its advocacy of self-determination for Kurds defied the Turkish constitution.

The European Court delivered a unanimous verdict saying it could see nothing in the party’s program that called for violence or rebellion and that could have legitimized the Turkish court’s decision.

Turkey had defended its decision–saying Ozdep attacked the indivisibility of the nation and advocated ethnic discrimination.

The party’s founder and president Mevlut Ilik was awarded 30,000 fran’s ($4,685) in damages and 40,000 fran’s costs.

The European court condemned Turkey in 1998 for disbanding a communist and a socialist party on the grounds that they referred to Kurdish self-determination.

A case against Turkey for banning the Islam-based Welfare party in 1998 is still before the European Court.

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