The EUTCC was established in November 2004 as the outcome of the first international conference on ‘The EU, Turkey and the Kurds’. The following organizations decided to establish the EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC):
- Rafto Foundation (Norway)
- Kurdish Human Rights Project (United Kingdom/UK)
- Medico International (Germany)
- Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (UK).
The aim of the EUTCC is to contribute to the progress of Turkish membership of the EU. It does this by spreading accurate, objective information both in Turkey and Europe about the progress made by Turkey, but also about any shortcomings which may still persist. One of its most important tasks is to monitor Turkish compliance with the EU accession criteria. It organizes every year a conference in Brussels on “The EU, Turkey and the Kurds”. The EUTCC is registered in Belgium as a non-profit organization.
The EUTCC supports Turkey’s bid for EU accession, but only in so far as it meets the conditions for membership as defined by the accession agreements. In particular, it must demonstrate that it has achieved the condition of “stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities” as required by the EU’s Copenhagen Criteria for membership.
Thus the EUTCC seeks to ensure that the accession process is used to achieve respect for human and minority rights in Turkey, as well as a peaceful, just and democratic solution to the Kurdish situation. It monitors the European Commission’s performance in ensuring Turkey’s full compliance with the accession criteria, as defined within the meaning of the accession agreements, and conducts regular audits to that end. It disseminates accurate and objective information to EU institutions, other governmental and non-governmental organizations and to the public in Turkey and the EU in order to bring attention both to the progress Turkey has made and the shortcomings that persist. It also seeks to play a positive role in the negotiation process by making recommendations and acting as a point of contact for the parties involved.
The EU-Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC), annually held at the European Parliament in Brussels (Belgium), is hosted by the founding members, and supported by members of the European Parliament.
Since 2004 the EUTCC has held an annual conference in the European Parliament. One of its most important tasks is to monitor Turkish compliance with the EU accession criteria. EUTCC wishes to contribute to the progress of Turkish membership of the EU by spreading accurate, objective information both in Turkey and Europe about the progress made by Turkey, but also about any shortcomings which may still persist.
By these conferences the EUTCC also wishes to contribute to a democratic, peaceful and lasting solution of the Kurdish problem. It believes that this can only be achieved through a dialogue between the parties concerned, in which also the EU must play its part. This will require not only further changes in legislation, but a change in the ideology and mentality at all levels of Turkish society. From a state seeing the expression of Kurdish culture and language as a threat to its own existence, Turkey must become a state that recognizes differences and sees cultural diversity and freedom as positive and necessary elements of a true democracy.
Our conferences bring together internationally recognized speakers from various disciplines and fields who together with the EUTCC patrons; Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Dr. Shirin Ebadi, Bianca Jagger, Noam Chomsky, Yasar Kemal and Leyla Zana in different ways express their request for real changes in Turkey.
Interview with Kariane Westrheim (Chair of EUTCC)
Interview with Michael Gunter (EUTCC Board Member)