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East European Quarterly,XL, No. 4 December 2006 EU ENLARGEMENT CONDITIONS AND MINORITY PROTECTION:

A REFLECTION ON TURKEY'S NON-MUSLIM MINORITIES $ule Toktaý Isik University, Istanbul

Introduction As part of enlargement towards the East, Turkey was accepted as a candidate country in 1999 at the Helsinki Council Summit and started accession negotiations on the 3rd of October in 2005. The start of the negotiations has been the result of long, difficult and complicated relations between Turkey and the EU. There had been several drawbacks and turning points, yet Turkey's westernization policy, which is one of the strongest hallmarks in Turkish foreign policy dating back to the Ottoman Empire times, had always had an upper hand in Turkey-EU relations (Aydin, 2003). In other words, the only direction that Turkey has followed is that of the West. It is in this context that the start of negotiations was not so unexpected despite concerns over the timing by some of the EU member states. 1 At the same time, the same process cannot be interpreted as Turkey being ready for EU membership or having got Europeanized 'enough' since there are strong areas of resistance in Turkish politics and Turkish polity in general that may prove to be the shortcoming for a possible full membership in the short-term. One can argue that the issue of minority protection and minority rights is one of the resistance points among some others such as the resolution of border conflicts with Greece and the Cyprus conflict (Oniý, 2003). Turkey applies universal citizenship as the basic tool in governing its state-society relations and every Turkish citizen is entitled to the same sets of rights and liberties which are protected by the Constitution (Toktaý, 2005). By the same token, group rights or differentiated citizenship is an uneasy concept in Turkish politics. Although Turkey was founded in the ashes of the Ottoman Empire, one of the most multicultural and multiculturalist governments in history, with the introduction of the Republic in 1923, it followed one nation-one state understanding formulated as Republicanism (Keyman and igduygu, 1998). The Turkish nation-building process involved cultural homogenization and the introduction of a super culture at the expense of differences among the society. 489


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The principle of equality has been prioritised over the principle of difference, consequently, universal citizenship (addressing all citizens as single, unified and as an equal subject category) became hegemonic in Turkish politics. Conventionally, Turkey gives official recognition only to three minority groups, the non-Muslim communities of the Greeks, Jews and Armenians. Since 1923, the minority protection framework, of which the basics were set by the Lausanne Treaty, has remained intact and Articles 37-45 of the Treaty, that regulate the parameters of minority rights granted to the non-Muslim minorities, still serve as the fundamentals of minority regime in Turkey. These rights include educational rights, religious freedom, equality with other citizens under the same citizenship category and cultural rights. Turkey has refrained from expanding the coverage of official minority recognition to further groups. Even the costs of the fight against the violent nationalist Kurdish movement in the international arena (specifically on the European front) did not compel Turkey enough to change its traditional minority regime. In summary, the universal citizenship, dominancy of the principle of equality in political culture and limitation of official recognition only to non-Muslims as minority groups are key to Turkey's approach to the protection of minorities (ToktaĂ˝, 2006). On the side of the EU, the conditions for membership mainly rest on the Copenhagen criteria. Accordingly, the candidate states, before membership, are expected to fulfil political conditions, economic conditions and to be able to adopt the community 'acquis communautaire' (the body of the community law). As part of the political conditions, the 1993 Copenhagen Summit set forth that "membership requires that the candidate country has achieved stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities." The conditions set out in the Copenhagen criterion are valid for Turkey's candidacy and the same norms are expected from Turkey. EU institutions have repeatedly referred to these criteria in its relations with Turkey and the Commission and the Council and the Parliament have consistently monitored the development of human rights and the protection of minorities and reflected upon the status of minorities in Turkey in various occasions. In this sense, there are a set of critical questions. How does European Union urges in minorty issues make sense while there is no specifically defined policy towards protection of minorities and minority


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rights? How do the EU institutions-the Commission, the Council and the Parliament-assess the developments in Turkey's approach to minority issues? To what extent the EU demands challenge Turkey's existing minorty regime? Will Turkey involve in a major revision of its traditional minority regime? Did Turkey achieve any progress considering the EU expectations in non-Muslim minority issues? Will Turkey's attitude in non-Muslim minority issues constitute a shortcoming in EU membership process? This article aims to review the EU's urge on Turkey to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria, hence the condition of 'respect for and protection of minorities' in the case of non-Muslim minorities. In light of the documents released by the EU institutions-such as the Commission regular reports, the Council decisions and the Accession Partnership with Turkey, and the oral and written questions discussed in the European Parliament-the article tries to outline and analyze how the EU develops a stance vis-A-vis Turkey's treatment towards its non-Muslim minorities. The article utilizes the result of a research on the essential documents released by the EU; and therefore is not argumentative but descriptive and analytical. Therefore, it has the potential of a reference guide to be used by researchers in the field who might find the related issues and discussions on minority issues in EU-Turkey relations in the form of an essay. The task of analysis is undertaken in four parts. The first part spotlights the Commission and addresses its regular reports on Turkey published annually since 1998. The reports' coverage of non-Muslim minorities, religious freedom and cultural rights are attached for special focus in this section. The second part focuses on the European Council and makes a short review of the Presidency conclusions and the Accession Partnership signed with Turkey. The third part focuses on the oral and written questions addressed by the parliamentarians in the European Parliament on Turkey's treatment of non-Muslim minorities. The last part makes an overall assessment and discusses the position of the EU towards Turkey's treatment of non-Muslim minorities in light of the data reviewed in the previous parts. This part also reflects on Turkey's attempts in fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria and the reforms it has taken in the specificity of non-Muslim minorities.


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Monitoring Turkey's Minority Protection: The EU Commission Regular Reports on Turkey The European Union, in its relations with candidate countries and hence with Turkey, mainly rely on the European Commission reports. These reports are prepared annually and serve preparing candidate countries for accession by bringing them closer to the EU. They focus, to a large extent, on the countries' capacity and performance in effectively adopting the Copenhagen criteria. In a way, the main monitoring mechanism of the EU is progress reports (Hughes and Sasse, 2003: 3). The Commission prepared eight reports on Turkey in total in the period of 1998-2005.2 These reports are important in the sense that they not only put forth what is expected of Turkey for its accession to the EU but also they monitor the progress taken by Turkey after each report in a comparative manner with the previous year's report as well as the shortcomings and ill-treatments in fulfilling the political criteria in the area of minority rights and the protection of minorities. The general structure followed in the reports are the same in every report: an introduction part on the context of the regular report and a brief summary of Turkey-EU relations which is then followed by an assessment of the Copenhagen criteria with sub-parts on the political criteria, economic criteria and the ability to assume the obligation of membership (acquis communautaire). The political criteria section of the reports analyses the situation with regard to the political conditions of membership, more specifically democracy, the rule of law, human rights and the protection of minorities. Within the specificity of the protection of minorities, all of the reports pinpoint that Turkey's minority regime, as set out in the Lausanne Treaty, was restrictive and hence did not provide a protective framework for other ethnic, cultural and religious groups and communities that fall outside the scope of the Treaty as there were other groups in Turkey which might have qualified for minority status such as the Assyrians, the Kurds and the Alevis. The reports also stated that Turkey was not applying the Lausanne Treaty to the full extent as there were problems in the daily lives of the recognized non-Muslim minorities. There has been no distinction made among the minorities-of Muslim or non-Muslim origin- and all the reports mainly attribute problems to a general framework and criticize the ineffectiveness of this general framework. Therefore, the reports pinpoint the problems that may have consequences for all or some of the minority communities. For instance,


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when mentioning the problem with opening places of worship, the reports

not only mention the case of Protestant churches but also the case of Cem houses of the Alevis. In a similar vein, when the reports cover the problems related to language instruction in mother tongue, the problematic cases of Kurdish language schools are mentioned in addition to the problem related to learning Armenian in higher education institutions. In light of the style followed by the regular reports, it is observed that while Turkey only recognizes the non-Muslim communities of the Greeks, Jews and Armenians, the reports have not dwelled upon this categorization but have utilized a general framework of all minorities. The 1998 Regular Report from the Commission on Turkey's progress towards accession is the first and the shortest of all the eight reports (European Commission, 1998). In the report, it was pointed out that by 1998, Turkey had ratified the most important conventions for the protection of HR with the exception of the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the Protocols 4, 6 and 7 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights which are related to minority issues. The 1998 Report stated that there were major shortcomings in the treatment of minorities such as Turkish identity cards carrying a mention of their faith and the existence of a department in the Ministry of Interior dealing with minorities. The problems relating to property of the non-Muslim foundations and to their freedom of association were also mentioned. Turkey's recognition of Greeks, Jews and Armenians as minorities by the Lausanne Treaty were acknowledged yet it was also reported that there were other groups which might have qualified as religious minorities, such as the Assyrians and the Alevis which made them subject to pressures in the exercise of religious education, and non-existence of government salaried Alevi religious leaders in contrast to Sunni religious leaders. The 1999 Report covered by and large the same points on minority issues with that of the 1998 Report (European Commission, 1999). It again monitored the progress made by Turkey but at the same time pointed out that there were 'serious' shortcomings in terms of human rights and protection of minorities. The difference in treatment between the officially recognized minorities and other religious minorities was criticized again within the domain of religious freedom. Turkey's refrain from signing the Council of Europe's major documents on minority rights-the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Mi-


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norities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languageswas also referred to'in that year's report. Property problems also were covered, too. The 2000 Regular Report is more specific in its recommendation for Turkey to cooperate with the Council of Europe to a fuller extent in the sphere of human rights (European Commission, 2000). Under the topic of freedom of religion, the Commission pointed to a few signs of increased tolerance towards the Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Catholic and Syrian Churches as well as the Jewish community. Yet, the Commission also included in the report the need of extending freedom of religion to other religious communities whether they were covered by the Lausanne Treaty or not-implying other non-Muslim or non-Sunni (mainly Alevi) communities. The point on the Halki Seminary being closed was also mentioned as a deficiency in religious freedom. 3 Regarding language rights, the Report mentioned that there were no language problems facing recognized minorities but there were for groups outside the scope of the Lausanne Treaty-mainly the Kurds. Additionally, the report pointed out that regardless of whether or not Turkey was willing to consider any ethnical group with a cultural identity and common traditions as national minorities, members of such groups were clearly denied certain basic rights. The Regular Report of 2001 by the Commission welcomed the adoption of a reform package of 34 constitutional amendments on 3 October 2001 as well as the formation of various human rights bodies (European Commission, 2001). Signs of increased tolerance towards certain non-Muslim religious communities such as the Prime Ministry issuing a circular to local authorities reaffirming the rights of Assyrian Turkish citizens, who had emigrated, to return to their villages in SouthEast Anatolian provinces or the permission for the opening of another Syrian Orthodox church in Istanbul were also noted. Yet, it was noted that there was no improvement in the situation of Alevis. Regarding property rights of the non-Muslim foundations, official permission was no longer required to carry out restoration of churches and other buildings belonging to minority foundations, this was also considered as a positive step. Yet, other problems of a more vital nature such as the right to own property and dispose of property are criticized in the report. The closed status of the Halki Seminary took its reserved place in this year's report as well. The lack of legal status of the non-Muslims out of the scope of the


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Lausanne was mentioned together with their problems in training and recruitment of clergy. Regarding the Roma, elimination of pejorative discourse from dictionaries published by the Ministry of Culture was welcomed but at the same time the 1934 Law on Settlement that categorize the Roma as groups who were not to be permitted as immigrants in Turkey was criticized. Restrictions on the right to education in languages other than Turkish were also mentioned in the report. The Commission recommended Turkey to set an action plan regarding religious freedom for non-Sunni (Alevi) and non-Muslim communities in its National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis. The 2002 Regular Report released by the Commission welcomed the adoption of the first reform package of major constitutional amendments to the 1982 Constitution that covered the lifting of the death penalty in peace time, the possibility for Radio and TV broadcasting in Kurdish, the widening of freedom of expression and greater freedom for non-Muslim religious minorities in 2002 (European Commission, 2002). The reform package included an amendment to the Law on Foundations which allowed non-Muslim community foundations to acquire and dispose of property. Yet, the Commission noted the existing problems in complicated bureaucratic procedures in the registration of properties. The validity of the 1936 property listing which not only bring solutions to already confiscated property but also enable further confiscation possible and the General Directorate of Foundations' immense involvement over the administration of these religious foundations. The problem of the appointment of a Muslim representative from the Ministry of National Education in minority schools who had greater authority than the head of the minority school and the restrictions over the training of clergy in addition to visa and work permit problems for non-Turkish clergy were also mentioned. The difference in treatment of recognized and unrecognized minorities was illustrated with the examples of the Assyrians' problems of the construction of new churches, no permission to open their own schools, in teaching their liturgical language, training of clergy and ownership problems regarding their historical properties due to lack of legal personality. The issue of the Halki Seminary maintained its place in this year's report as well. Formation of additional human rights bodies at the local and national levels in 2002 were welcomed however measures for a more effective functioning of these bodies were recommended. The Law on Settlement still listing nomadic Gypsies not to be accepted in Turkey


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as immigrants is criticized. Regarding international agencies and treaties, Turkey not signing the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities was noted. In addition, Turkey was recommended to cooperate with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. As the Commission reports started to get longer and in-depth every year, the regular reports after the 2002 report started to give a broader and more detailed assessment of the treatment of minorities in Turkey both in the steps taken for Europeanization of the minority regime as well as the limits of the progress and the shortcomings (European Commission, 2003). The 2003 regular report noted the embracement of a revised National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis (NPAA) in 2003,4 the ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 5 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights6 with reservations made on minority rights and education in minority languages. Yet, the report, like the previous reports, repeated Turkey's refraining of signing the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Another issue which is repeated in that year's report too is the Halki Seminary still being closed. However, the 2003 regular report especially welcomed the constitutional amendments incorporated in the 2003 reform package that covered the resolution of some of the bureaucratic problems related to acquisition, disposing of and registration of property which was introduced with the 2002 reform package. A very detailed assessment of the property issue is made in the report that covers the number of applications made to the General Directorate of Foundations by the non-Muslim foundations, the bureaucratic procedures at sake, the deadlines for the applications, the complications still existing after the 2003 amendments, the status of the applications (rejection or acceptance rates), the public offices involved in the procedures, etc. The power of intervention of the General Directorate of Foundations over the religious foundations such as its trustee dismissal, assets and accountancy monitoring or confiscation power that limit the autonomy of the non-Muslim community foundations is criticized. Court cases in the European Court of Human Rights of the Greek minority regarding the confiscation of the Greek Orphanage in Bilyikada, Istanbul and of the Bahais in the local court regarding the expropriation of place of worship in Edirne were also mentioned in the report. Regarding the confiscations due to 1974 Council of State decision that made all property of the non-Muslim foundations


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acquired either through purchase or donation between 1936 and 1974 illegal, the report specified it as a pending question that needed addressing. The report welcomed the amendment made to the Law on Public Works as part of the 6th reform package followed by a circular in September 2003 replacing the word 'mosque' with the phrase 'places of worship' which allowed opening of new churches, synagogues or other places of worship for different beliefs in neighbourhoods. Yet, difficulties in finding locations for places of worship, especially by the Protestant and the Catholic communities were mentioned in the report as well. The problems of the non-Muslim minorities that fall out of the scope of the Lausanne were also mentioned in detail in that year's report. Some of these problems include those of: prohibition of establishing new foundations, a ban on training clergy, work and residence permits or visa problems for nonTurkish clergy (a particular concern for the Roman Catholic community), nationality criteria restricting the ability of non-Turkish clergy to work (i.e. for the Syriac and Chaldean Churches) and prohibition of opening schools (a particular concern for the Syriac community). In the report, these problems are especially addressed under the topic of religious freedom. Religious freedom in Turkey is seen as limited in comparison to European standards due to the absence of legal personality, education and training of ecclesiastic personnel and full enjoyment of property rights of religious communities. The same point was made with regards to freedom of association as there were limitations in the establishment of associations on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sect, region or any other minority groups. The Law on Settlement listing the Roma as unqualified for migration is repeated in that year's report as a form of discrimination. Regarding specific problems of the Lausanne minorities, it is noted that parents belonging to different religious minorities had encountered difficulties in enrolling their children in religious minority schools. Children could only attend such schools if their father was registered as belonging to that religious minority at the exclusion of the faith of the mothers. The ban on the publication and import of non-approved religious textbooks to minority schools (a concern of the Greek minority) was criticized as there had been cases of books being confiscated by customs officials. The continuing situation of a Muslim deputy head appointed by the Ministry of National Education to the religious minority schools with greater authority is criticized as well. The citizenship requirement to become the Ecumenical Patriarch is specified as a problem for the dimin-


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ishing or already diminished population figures of non-Muslims who cannot nominate qualified candidates to these positions among nonMuslim Turkish citizens. Regarding curriculum at national public schools, the hostility towards minority groups in history books is also mentioned in the report. The inclusion of the Ministry of National Education issuing a circular in April 2003 requiring schools to organize conferences and essay competitions on controversial historical events related to the Armenians, Greek Pontus and Assyrians illustrate the detailed monitoring system process followed by the regular reports of the Commission. Regarding the reform process taken by Turkey in the year 2004, the Commission acknowledged that Turkey was going through a process of radical change including a rapid evolution of mentalities in the year 2004 and encouraged such transformational processes to continue (European Commission, 2004a). The Commission, in its communication to the European Parliament and the Council, recommended the accession negotiations with Turkey be opened as Turkey fulfilled the political criteria. The Commission, on the one hand acknowledged the two constitutional reforms in 2001 and 2004 and eight legislative packages between 2002 and 2004, but on the other hand it pointed to the need for further action on the specific problems of non-Muslim religious communities in addition to other issues covered in the communication (European Commission, 2004b). These problems were mentioned in detail in the 2004 regular report. The 2004 Regular Report prepared by the Commission continued the detailed assessment of minority rights and minority protection (European Commission, 2004c). The Report noted that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe had lifted the monitoring procedure on Turkey, which had been applied since 1996, acknowledging the progress achieved by Turkey since 2001 in the area of constitutional and legislative reforms in 2004. Turkey would be subject to a post-monitoring procedure, which would focus on Turkey's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. It was stated that the monitoring process would also cover the full implementation of political reforms which needed further consolidation and broadening of human rights including minority rights and resolution of the problems faced by non-Muslim religious communities. Besides the European Convention on Human Rights, other international treaties and bodies are mentioned in the report as well. Turkey not signing the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and


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the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages is a point repeated in this year's report. The reservations and declarations made to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on minority rights are seen as potential for preventing further progress in the protection of minority rights. Turkey is recommended to cooperate with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities towards full compliance with modem international standards on the treatment of minorities. The 2004 report acknowledges the freedom of religion and worship granted constitutional guarantee, it reports that non-Muslim religious communities have continued to encounter obstacles due to lack of legal personality, restricted property rights, ban on the training of clergy, interference in the administration of minority schools (a dual presidency system which gives more power to the Muslim deputy head than the nonMuslim head), and interference in the management of their foundations that could be removed by appropriate legislations. The enactment of a new Law on Associations that removes the obstacles for the establishment of associations on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sect, region or minority group is welcomed yet constitutional prohibitions that may restrict such associations to be founded are also pointed out in the report. Religious foundations continued to be subject to the interference of the Directorate General for Foundations which could dissolve the foundations, seize their properties, dismiss their trustees without a judicial decision and intervene in the management of their assets and accountancy. The Regulation on the Methods and Principles of the Boards of NonMuslim Religious Foundations, adopted in June 2004, was welcomed while noting it might provoke certain problems pertaining to elections for their boards. Another concern of the Commission was the circular issued in May 2004 by the same General Directorate of Foundations which introduced the restrictive requirement that all foundations including religious foundations should seek permission prior to submitting applications to participate in projects funded by international organizations including the European Commission. The situation of the property problems of community foundations was evaluated in-depth as usual in the year which saw an increased number of applications for registration of property to the General Directorate of Foundations. The risk of confiscation was reported to be continuing and exemplified with the confiscation of the Greek Orphanage on BtiyiUkada Island of Istanbul and some other Greek prop-


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erty on the island of G6k9eada. Repairing facilities at the property belonging to non-Muslims, despite the relaxation of bureaucratic procedures at the General Directorate of Foundations, continued to face restrictions exemplified with the case at the Panagia Greek Orthodox Church which was affected by the bombing of the British consulate in November 2003 and had still not been granted authorization to carry out repairs. In December 2003, a Bahai place of worship in Edirne was given back to the community but it was reported that there were obstacles when seeking permission to make renovations to their property. Despite changes in the Law on Associations, the lack of legal status of nonMuslims out of the scope of the Lausanne was still an obstacle for some communities, i.e. the Catholic and Protestant communities, to establish foundations and register, acquire and dispose of property. Violations in the right to education of the minorities attracted special focus in the report. It was welcomed that the Ministry of Education allowed children with mothers from the minority could also attend minority schools (previously only those with fathers from the minority could attend). Yet, the authorization of the Ministry of National Education to make the final assessment of the parents' declaration of their minority status, in a way their faith, was criticized. The ban on the Halki Seminary and on the training of clergy continued to take its place in the 2004 report. Furthermore, it was noted that clergymen and graduates from theological colleges continued to be prevented from teaching religion in existing schools run by minorities. The Greek minority reported to be encountering problems of obtaining approval of new teaching materials and the recognition of teachers abroad. In contravention of the 2003 Labour Law and in contrast with the situation of their colleagues of Turkish origin, Greek minority teachers were only permitted to teach in one school notes the report. The Armenian community had a concern regarding the inadequacy of the teaching of the Armenian language. Assyrians, not officially recognized, were still not permitted to establish schools. Another officially not recognized group albeit Muslim, the Alevis, experienced difficulties in opening places of worship and are contempt with the compulsory religious instruction in schools that failed to acknowledge non-Sunni identities. From another point of view, this year religious textbooks were redrafted in order to address the concerns of Christian minorities such as elimination of discriminatory language with respect to Christianity. However, the history books for the 2003-2004 school year still portrayed


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minorities as untrustworthy, traitorous and harmful to the state. The authorities intervention, having started reviewing discriminatory language in schoolbooks, was welcomed and in March 2004 a Regulation was issued in which it is stated that school text books should not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, language, ethnicity, philosophical belief or religion. The difficulties of the non-Turkish clergy to work, reside and enter the country continued in this year. Nationality criteria restricted the ability of non-Turkish clergy to work for certain churches, such as the Syriac or Chaldean. Public use of the ecclesiastical title of Ecumenical Patriarch was still not allowed in the year 2004. Christians were reported to be subject to police surveillance in Turkey from time to time, i.e. policemen present during Protestant religious services who checked the congregation's identity cards. Yet, attempts for combating discriminatory language against Christians were welcomed such as the conviction of the presenter of a local TV station for inciting hostility towards Turkish Protestants in Ankara. The security problems for Assyrians who returned back from abroad to their home in South East Anatolia by village security guards were identified as the major reason of the decrease in return migration rates of the Assyrians. Members of minority communities facing difficulties in acceding to senior administrative and military positions were also included in the report. Language rights as well as cultural rights were specifically seen to be violated in the case of Kurds in this report such as the problems in nonTurkish broadcasting (specifically Kurdish) despite the elimination of a law that prohibits Kurdish or other minority language broadcasting. The Roma continued to be socially excluded experienced difficulties in accessing adequate housing. Law on Settlement that prohibited the settlement of the Roma immigrants was criticized, yet the December 2003 circular on the Law on Citizenship that removed the requirement to state on the citizenship application whether the applicant was a 'gypsy' was seen as a positive step. Another progress taken in the sphere of minorities was the circular which was adopted in the same month of 2003 which allowed for the recognition of a change of religious identity on the basis of a simple declaration. The Commission report welcomed the abolition of the 'Secondary Committee for Minorities' in January 2004 which was established with a secret decree in 1962 in order to carry out security surveillance on


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minorities. A new institutional body, the 'Minority Issues Assessment Board' composed of representatives of the Ministries of Interior, Education, Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of State responsible for the Directorate General of Foundations was set up in order to address the problems of non-Muslim minorities. However, the existence of the department for minorities established within the Security Directorate of the Ministry of the Interior responsible for relations with minorities was criticized. The European Council in December 2004 decided to start accession negotiations with Turkey on the 3rd of October 2005 upon the recommendation of the Commission. The Commission, in the Enlargement Strategy Paper, pointed out that in regard to freedom of religion in Turkey, despite some ad-hoc measures and some progress in the field of protection of human rights and minorities, the religious minorities and communities still lacked legal personality and there was an urgent need to address their problems through the adoption of a comprehensive legislative framework in line with European standards. Although, the terms of what these European standards refer to were not clarified, the Commission found Turkey's approach to minorities and cultural rights restrictive and pointed to a slowing-down in the pace of change and implementation of reforms being uneven in the year 2005 (European Commission, 2005a). These developments and restrictions were discussed in detail in the 2005 progress report. The 2005 regular report released on the 9th of November 2005 after the start of negotiations is entitled 'the progress report' (European Commission, 2005b). The positive developments considered by the 2005 report were: the Council of State issuing a ruling in favour of a radio station broadcasting programmes on Christianity; introduction of equal treatment for Mosques and Christian churches as regards to free access to water; the Protestant church in Diyarbakir registered officially as a place of worship; a Protestant church established as an association in Ankara; the approval of the Bahai community's request to renovate its garden as a place of worship in Edirne; Governors' Offices under the Ministry of Interior assuming responsibility for certain issues related to non-Muslim minorities-including their health, social, cultural and educational institutionswhich had previously fallen under the responsibility of the Provincial Security Directorates; and the Ministry of National Education indicating Alevism and other faiths such as Christianity and Judaism to be included in compulsory religious education as of 2006. Yet, despite these progres-


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sive steps, the Commission report noted limited progress with respect to

freedom of religion since 2004 in terms of both legislation and practice. The classical criticism directed at Turkey's approach to minority rights of which the fundamentals were set by the Lausanne Treaty is repeated in the 2005 report with the point made that besides Armenians, Jews and Greeks there were other minority groups that could be classified as minorities according to relevant international and European standards. In general, the 2005 report by the Commission reinforced the idea that ad hoc measures would not solve the problems of religious minorities and communities and religious pluralism to a full extent but their rights would only be guaranteed through the creation of a clear and comprehensive legal framework which established the conditions for the functioning of all religious communities. Despite the liberties brought by the Law on Associations that enabled, for example, the establishment of the Ankara Kurdish Democracy, Culture and Solidarity Association, there were still problems of property rights, interference in the management of community foundations due to lack of legal personality pertaining specifically to non-Muslims. Religious foundations continued to be subject to the interference of the Directorate General for Foundations which is able to dissolve the foundations, seize their properties, dismiss their trustees without a judicial decision and intervene in the management of their assets and accountancy. The regulation on elections to the board of trustees to the non-Muslims foundations waited implementation in daily practice. The report interprets the continued ban on the training of clergy as a difficulty for non-Muslim religious minorities to sustain their communities beyond the current generation. Non-Turkish Christian clergy continued to experience difficulties with respect to the granting and renewal of visas and residence and work permits. Nationality criteria restricting the ability of non-Turkish clergy such as the Syriacs and Chaldeans safeguarded its place in that year's report as well. It was noted that the Halki Seminary was still closed; the public use of the ecclesiastical title of Ecumenical Patriarch was still banned; the election of the heads of some religious minority churches was still subject to strict conditions; it was still not possible for clergymen and graduates from theological colleges to teach religion in existing schools run by minorities; there was still a dual presidency system in minority schools that gave the Muslim deputy head more power than the minority head; the Greek minority continued to encounter problems obtaining


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approval for new teaching materials and the recognition of teachers trained abroad; Greek minority teachers were still only permitted to teach in one school in contravention of the 2003 Labour Law and in contrast with the situation of their colleagues of Turkish origin; the training of Armenian language teachers was still not possible pending acceptance by the Turkish authorities of an Armenian department within an Istanbul university for the study of Armenian language; the Syriacs were still not permitted to establish schools; and the school textbooks still portrayed minorities as untrustworthy, traitorous and harmful to the state. A detailed situation regarding the property rights and problems related to them also took their usual place in that year's report. Besides the continuing risk for confiscation, lack of a coherent plan to resolve the issue of already confiscated property due to 1974 ruling is highlighted in the report. The lack of legal status of religious communities is seen as the major obstacle facing religious communities, i.e. Catholic, Protestant and Assyrian communities, to register, acquire and dispose of property. In practice Greek citizens have problems inheriting property despite the existence of a decree which grants them such rights. The Greek minority on the island of G6kqeada continues to encounter a number of difficulties such as in land registry and the designation of land and buildings as 'monuments of nature or culture' which has led to the confiscation of some of the property previously. Very few individuals of Syriac-origin have been able to return from abroad. Those that have lost their Turkish nationality were not able to register their property in the framework of the ongoing land registry in the Southeast. In this context, the Commission noted a worrying increase in the number of complaints from Syriacs in Turkey and abroad regarding the seizure of their uninhabited property by both citizens in the region and the land registry authorities. The non-Sunnite minorities, the Alevis mainly, are reported to have experienced difficulties in terms of opening places of worship, representation in relevant state bodies (such as the General Directorate of Religious Affairs) as well as in relation to compulsory religious education which has Sunnite tendencies. The Law on Settlement preventing the settlement of the Roma as immigrants was still in force. No local broadcasting in Kurdish has yet been authorized (permission pending before Higher Commission on Radio and Television Broadcasting known as RTUK). The various human rights boards at local and national level were criticized to be operating ineffectively as evidenced by the omission of


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the report prepared by the Prime Ministry Human Rights Advisory Board Sub-Committee on Minorities. 7 The 2005 progress report also pointed to security problems of the non-Muslims by the attacks on the Greek Patriarchate and the Protestant churches by some individuals and groups 8 and the return of Assyrians in the south east by the village guards. The Commission was also concerned with the Presidency of Religious Affairs distributing a sermon which was hostile towards missionary activities in 2005. Regarding cooperation with international norms of minority protection, Turkey is acknowledged for signing the Revised 1996 European Social Charter in October 2004. Turkey not signing the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities or the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was noted as well. Turkey has not yet ratified Additional Protocol No 12 to the ECHR on the general prohibition of discrimination by public authorities which was found to be important in light of the fact that minorities were often subject to de facto discrimination and encountered difficulties in acceding to administrative and military positions. The Commission was also concerned with reservations to the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) regarding the rights of minorities and to the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) regarding the right to education in mother tongue which could be used to prevent further progress on the protection of minority rights especially with regard to communities that fall out of the scope of the Lausanne Treaty. The report also repeated the Commission's expectation from Turkey to cooperate with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities. That year's report, however, reflects on the third report on Turkey prepared by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in 2005 very much. It utilizes the data incorporated in the ECRI third report on Turkey and borrows highly from the recommendations developed in the ECRI report. For example, the recommendations in the 3rd ECRI report on Turkey such as religious instruction to be optional or encompass all religious cultures, the abolition of the requirement to indicate religion on ID cards, revision of school curricula and textbooks in order to heighten pupils' awareness of the advantages of a multicultural society, comprehensive measures aiming at overcoming barriers to access to public services for those who do not speak Turkish, and the need for the revision of Article 42 of the Constitution which prohibits the teaching


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of any language other than Turkish as a mother tongue in state schools were borrowed and repeated from the 2005 progress report by the Commission on Turkey. 9 The points made in the 2005 Progress Report of the Commission regarding minorities and freedom of religion were also covered in the Accession Partnership Proposal for the European Council by the Commission (European Commission, 2005c). The Accession Partnership with Turkey was adopted by the European Council in 2001 which was revised in 2003. The third one, a Revised Accession Partnership with Turkey was proposed by the Commission in 2005 of which Turkey's reforms would be monitored by the annual progress reports of the Commission. Regarding the rights of the non-Muslims, the Commission proposed a wider understanding of religious freedom to be adopted by Turkey by initiating a comprehensive law addressing all the difficulties faced by the nonMuslim religious minorities and communities in line with the relevant European standards (European Commission, 2005d). The Commission also proposed the suspension of all sales or confiscation by the Turkish authorities pending the adoption of such a law. The Proposal also proposed for the revised Accession Partnership to include Turkey's taking into account the relevant recommendations of the Council of Europe's Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI). Referring to the European Convention on Human Rights Protocol No 1, the Commission emphasized the need for Turkey's legal and judicial protection of religious communities, their members and their assets, teaching, appointing and training of clergy and the enjoyment of property rights. For this reform to be taken, the Proposal also referred to the principles laid down by the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which has not been signed by Turkey, and in line with best practice in Member States. These actions were set as short-term priorities for the EU as stated in the Proposal. For medium-term priorities, conceptualization of cultural diversity was used in the areas of education and culture that would imply education in non-Turkish without the use of such wording (European Commission, 2005d). The points relating to minorities through the reports between 1998-2005 can be summarized in a table as follows:


507

EU ENLARGEMENT CONDITIONS AND MINORITY PROTECTION:

A REFLECTION

ON TURKEY'S NON-MUSLIM MINORITIES

Table 1

EU Commission Regular Reports Coverage by Main Problems Relating to Minority Issues

International Treaties Identity Cards Property Compulsory Religious Course General Directorate of Religious Affairs Difference in Treatment between Various Minority Groups Halki Seminary Language Rights (courses, schools, broadcasting, etc.) Opening New Places of Worship Training and Recruitment of Clergy Pejorative Discourse in School Texts Law on Settlement Minority Schools General Directorate of Foundations Opening New Foundations Freedom of Association Ecumenical Patriarch Security Problems Recruitment to State Offices

1998 X X X X

REPORTS 2001 2002 X X

1999 X

2000 X

X

X X

X X

X

X

X

X

2003 X X X

2004 X X X X

2005 X X X X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X

X X

X X

X X

X X

X X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X

X X X

X X X

X X X

X X X

X

X

X X X

X X X X X

X X X X X

X

X

X

The European Council and Turkey's Non-Muslim Minorities The European Council mainly rested on the reports and recommen-

dations developed by the European Commission. The Presidency's conclusions of the European Council on Turkey since 1997 mention the need to fulfil the Copenhagen criteria by Turkey in its prospects of accession which have been applied to other candidate states as well. Special emphasis has been on the political criteria which include the stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities. The Council summits welcomed the political


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and legal reforms taken by the Turkish governments in the accession process, yet it was also mentioned, for instance in the Copenhagen European Council of 12-13 December 2002, the Brussels European Council of 12 December 2003, and the Brussels European Council of 1617 December 2004, that the implementation of the legislative reforms was as important as the legislation itself which was to be monitored by the Commission via its annual progress reports (European Commission 2005d; 2005e). One of the most important official documents regarding Turkey's accession to the EU and marking determinants of EU-Turkey relations is the Accession Partnership adopted by the Council on the 8th of March 2001. The Accession Partnership with Turkey put forth the need for reforms in the freedom of press, expression, association and assembly as well as removal of the ban on mother' tongue in broadcasting as shortterm priorities and intermediate objectives expected from Turkey in the years 2001 and 2002 (Official Journal of the European Communities, 2001). In the subsequent years, as medium-term and intermediate objectives, the decision emphasises further development of conditions for the enjoyment of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, human rights and freedoms and enduring cultural diversity and guaranteeing cultural rights including education for all citizens irrespective of their origin. These sets of objectives clearly indicate a call for change in the minority treatment by Turkey. As the recognized minorities-the non-Muslim communities of the Armenians, Greeks and the Jews-already have educational rights within the existing minority protection framework drawn by the Lausanne, such a priority and objective indicate granting of educational rights to other non-Muslim groups or sociologically recognized minority groups such as the Alevis or the Kurds. 10 In the revised Accession Partnership adopted by the Council on the 19th of May 2003, although the emphasis was on economic criteria and the adaptability of the acquis, under the heading of enhanced political dialogue and political criteria, Turkey's adapting and implementing provisions concerning the exercise of freedom of thought, conscience and religion by all individuals and religious communities in line with Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights; establishing conditions for the functioning of these communities, in line with the practice of EU Member States which include legal and judicial protection of the communities, their members and their assets, teaching, appointing and training


EU ENLARGEMENT CONDITIONS AND MINORITY PROTECTION: A REFLECTION ON TURKEY'S NON-MUSLIM MINORITIES

509

clergy, and the enjoyment of property rights in line with Protocol I of the European Convention on Human Rights were highlighted as priorities for 2003 and 2004. The document also pointed to the importance of ensuring cultural diversity and guaranteeing cultural rights for all citizens irrespective of their origin, broadcasting, education in non-Turkish (Official Journal of the European Communities, 2003). The Accession Partnership was revised in 2006 which emphasized the need of Turkey "to consolidate the political reform process in order to guarantee its irreversibility and ensure its uniform implementation throughout the country and at all levels of the administration." (European Commission, 2006). The Council's decision also set forth the adoption of a law comprehensively addressing all the difficulties faced by non-Muslim religious minorities and communities in line with relevant European standards as short-term priority (European Commission, 2006). The EuropeanParliamentand Turkey's Non-Muslims: The ParliamentaryDiscussions and the Joint Committee Meetings The issues of the rights of non-Muslim minorities and freedom of religion were frequently subject to written and oral questions in the European Parliament. There were more than forty oral written questions addressed to the Commission and the Council by the Parliamentarians between the years 2002 and 2005.11 These questions, whose information sources being mostly newspapers and human rights organizations' reports and some of which were addressed by the Greek Parliamentarians, deal with the claims such as: the governmental resistance to re-opening of the Halki Seminary, the killing of the Catholic priest in Trabzon in 2006, the trial of Orhan Pamuk for his comments on the Kurdish question and the Armenian genocide claims, the confiscation of the Greek Orphanage on the island of Batiykada, registration of religion on the identity cards, closing of the Protestant Church in Iskenderun, problems related to property rights of the non-Muslim communities' foundations continuing after the related EU reforms in Turkey, governmental uneasiness with the missionary activities, use of discriminatory rhetoric against minorities in school textbooks, limitations on freedom of speech related to claims of Armenian genocide, the sermon read at mosque gatherings in 2005 distributed by the Directorate of Religious Affairs that oppose missionary activities and conversions in due course from Islam to other faiths, several attacks on churches and graveyards, right of EU nationals to enrol in mi-


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nority schools, missionary activities being on the agenda of the National Security Council or mentioned as a threat by some of the military staff in 200112 and deterioration in the just treatment of non-Muslim minorities in 2005 in comparison to previous years. The issue of protection of minorities was a matter that frequently came up in various meetings of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee. The EU Parliamentarians frequently emphasized the shortcomings in the fulfilment of the political criteria by Turkey as well as the need to ensure the rights of non-Muslim minorities were to be safeguarded.13 The European Parliament delegate, from time to time, pointed to the need to review the Turkish reforms on freedom of religion and expression, the respect for the rights of minorities as well as to the importance of the implementation of the reforms. The Turkish delegate, on the other hand, frequently responded to these points by emphasizing the official minority regime of Turkey (the 1923 Lausanne Treaty specifically) that acknowledged only non-Muslims as minorities, hence the nonexistence of a minority problem as all citizens of Turkey and their individual rights and freedoms including the freedom of belief were protected in the equal, secular and universal framework of Turkish citizenship. However, criticism by the European Parliament members continued. Specifically in the 53rd meeting of the Joint Committee in 2005, the matter was discussed in-depth (European Parliament, 2005a). The European Parliament delegate, in view of the problems experienced by the non-Muslim as well as the non-Sunnite (Alevi) minorities despite the reforms taken by Turkey for EU accession process, asked from Turkey to review its policies regarding religious freedom and to see that the reforms would get through to the everyday lives of people in Turkey. Some of the issues that were raised by the delegate were the limitations on the training of clergy, the possibility of the opening of the Halki Seminary which would enhance religious freedom, the abolition of the compulsory religion course in the culTiculum of elementary schools for the non-Sunnite students, abolition of bureaucratic hardships when opening a place of worship (i.e., Cem House) by the Alevis, removal of the reference to faith on identity cards and enhancing the liberty to preach by non-Muslims to Muslims. These points on minorities that took place in the 53rd meeting in 2005 were also included in' the Note by the European Commission intended for European Parliament Members of the EP Delegation to the


EU

ENLARGEMENT CONDITIONS AND MINORITY PROTECTION: A REFLECTION ON TURKEY'S NON-MUSLIM MINORITIES

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EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee prior to the meeting (European Parliament, 2005b). The Note, reflecting on the annual progress reports, the Accession Partnership with Turkey and a Strategy Paper, mentioned that the Commission monitored the fulfilment of the political criteria and human rights issues as the conditionality for Turkey in the short-term but the EU reforms taken by Turkey in the year 2005 has slowed down and the implementations has remained uneven. It also pinpointed the restrictive approach to minorities and cultural rights and the limited interpretation of the Lausanne Treaty by Turkey who only recognized three major non-Muslim communities-Greeks, Jews and the Armenians at the exclusion of other communities. The Note also listed some of the problems experienced by the non-Muslims such as de facto discrimination in state offices, difficulties in acceding to administrative and military positions, portrayal of minorities as untrustworthy, traitorous and harmful to the state in history school textbooks, limitations over teaching minority languages and establishing foundations that aim to promote a certain cultural identity or a particular religion. Specifically with freedom of religion, the Note listed the problems of the non-Muslim religious communities as follows: they lack legal personality, face restricted property rights and interference in the management of their foundations, are not allowed to train clergy, and Catholics and Protestants are not entitled to establish foundations and are deprived of the right to register, acquire and dispose of property. The issue of compulsory religion course in school curriculum and the difficulties in terms of recognition of places of worship, specific concerns of the Alevis, were also mentioned, in the Note.14 General Assessment of EU-Turkey Relations with Respect to Political Conditions on Minority Protection The EU does not have a specifically defined policy towards protection of minorities and minority rights. The EU member states have different sets of laws and regulations for protection of minorities. Some countries, like France for example, hold the official position that there are no minorities in France, and hence is not a signatory of the Framework Convention for the Protection of Minorities. Some other countries, like Germany, signed the Framework Convention but does not grant minority status to Turks living in the country but mainly accepts them as guest workers. Despite these differences in practices and policies with respect


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to minorities within the EU and among the EU member states per se, EU has some guiding principles on the issue of minorities. These principles have mainly been crystallized in the last enlargement towards the East. In the accession processes of the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs), these principles have been developed and put as conditionality for membership. In actual terms, these principles were those borrowed from the Council of Europe and OSCE (Vermeersch, 2003). It has to be noted that during the accession processes of the CEECs there are different practices in the EU which have been criticized for example, the nonexistence of a coherent framework for the protection of minorities as well as the liberal approach to the minority issue in the EU that does not impose better treatment of minorities in existing member states in contrast to such pressures and conditionality put on candidate states. Such a critique was formulated as "Do As I Say, Not As I Do" (Johns, 2005). The same approach of the EU is valid in its relations with Turkey. institutions-the Commission, the Council and the ParliamentEU The coherently and consistently recommended Turkey to develop its record of protection of minorities and minority rights. Especially via the monitoring mechanism of regular reports on Turkey prepared by the Commission, the developments as well as the shortcomings in Turkey's approach to the minority issue were assessed. In these reports, the situation regarding not only the recognized minorities-the Armenians, Greeks and the Jewsbut also regarding other ethnic, cultural and religious minorities such as the Kurds, the Roma, Assyrians, Protestants, Catholics and the Alevis were also included. The 1923 Lausanne Treaty framing Turkey's minority regime is the central point that EU focuses on. EU, on the whole, is not satisfied with the restrictive approach contained in the Treaty and frequently, in various occasions and documents, emphasizes the need for a broader set of rights and liberties for minority groups and communities to be incorporated by Turkey. In a way, the EU demands Turkey to move to a further level beyond the scope of the traditional position of Lausanne and revise and update its minority regime in light of the contemporary developments evidenced in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet block. The Council of Europe and the OSCE attempts in the field are seen as reference points by the EU in its demands from Turkey. Turkey, in response to the urge for 'Europeanization' by the EU, adopted several reform packages that included amendments to key laws and constitutional provisions. However, the reform process of Turkey did


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A REFLECTION ON TURKEY'S NON-MUSLIM MINORITIES

not involve a major revision of its traditional minority regime but a revision of the 'individual rights and liberties' structure (ToktaĂ˝, 2005). In other words, the EU conditionality, hence the Copenhagen criteria were met by broadening the scope of human rights rather than altering the minority regime altogether. For instance, various National Programmes for the Adoption of the Acquis prepared by Turkey did not specify any change in the minority regime. Even the planned reforms in the area of human rights to be taken by Turkey were included, such as the necessary amendments to the Constitution or signing some of the related intemational conventions or protocols, general discourse inherent in the document ignored any question of minorities or wording on religious freedom. Turkey broadened freedoms of thought, press, association and assembly by way of constitutional amendments which also brought further liberties to non-Muslim minorities as well as to other groups like the Kurds, Alevis and the Assyrians. By the same token, it became legal to broadcast in languages other than Turkish, to form associations on cultural grounds, to establish places of worship for all faiths and to acquire and dispose of property by community foundations. It was due to these reforms that Turkey was able to start negotiations with the EU. However, having taken several reforms and started negotiations, Turkey still faces criticisms by EU with respect to protection of minorities. It is frequently emphasized by EU officials that Turkey had slowed down its reform process in 2005. Enlargement Commissioner Oli Rehn expressed his concerns over the treatment of minorities in various occasions (HRW, 2005). Regarding the non-Muslim minorities, the most essential legislation is the amendment to the Law on Foundations which is still pending in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. This shows that the minority issue will still be on the agenda throughout the negotiation process and although Turkey seems not to be ready to alter its minority regime, expectations towards complying with the norms of the Council of Europe and the OSCE are still alive. Notes I. Austria resisted to the decision on starting negotiation with Turkey but could not block it. 2. The Cardiff European Council in June 1998 issued that the European Commission would prepare regular reports on Turkey's progress towards accession in result of the Article 28 of the Association Agreement (1963-1964) and the conclusions of the 1997 Luxembourg European Council.


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3. The Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary was closed in 1971 with the law that banned all private higher education institutions. By the same token, all educational institutions at the level of university or college no matter whether they were giving two-years or four-years education were closed down. Therefore, the closure of the Halki Seminary was a by-consequence of a broader educational reform and the law was not prepared specifically for the Halki. For an in-depth assessment of the closure of the Halki Seminary see Macar (2003), Kaya (2003) and Ozyilmaz (2000). From time to time, the possibility of re-opening the Seminary was vocalized by Turkish political leaders. Especially Turgut Ozal, the leader of the Motherland Party in the 1980s and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the current leader of the Justice and Development party and the prime minister, vocalized this possibility but no concrete steps have been taken. 4. National Programme for the Adoption of the Acquis was published by Turkey first in 2001 and revised in 2003 (NPAA, 2001; 2003). The 2003 Programme mentioned that "The legislation concerning freedom of worship will be simplified in implementation in light of the ECHR and its Additional Protocol No. 1, with a view to addressing the needs of different religions and faiths." In due course, Turkey resolved some of the complications regarding bureaucratic procedures related to non-Muslim foundations. 5. Turkey signed the Covenant in 2000 and ratified it in 2003 with the following declaration: "The Republic of Turkey reserves the right to interpret and apply the provisions of the paragraph (3) and (4) of the Article 13 of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in accordance to the provisions under the Article 3, 14 and 42 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey." This declaration mainly covers the issue of education in mother tongue. According to Article 42 of the Turkish Constitution, official language is Turkish; education is a right; education in languages other than Turkish are prohibited. 6. Turkey signed the Covenant on 15 August 2000 and ratified it on 23 September 2003. However, Turkey put a reservation on Article 27 of the Covenant which limited the scope of the right of ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion or to use their own language. This reservation provides that this right will be implemented and applied in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Turkish Constitution and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. This implies that Turkey grants educational right in minority languages only to the recognized minorities covered by the Lausanne who are the Armenians, Greeks and the Jews. 7. The Sub-Committee on Minorities prepared a report on minority and cultural rights which included recommendations like accepting 'being from Turkey' instead of 'being a Turk' as higher culture; amendment of the constitutional provision on Turkish as the official language; all ethnic and religious communities to be given recognition; and full application of all the clauses of the Lausanne Treaty. The syndicate of public officials, Kamu-Sen, protested the report during the press conference when the report was publicized. The general secretary of Kamu-Sen tried to tear up the report in front of the media and claimed that there were no minorities in Turkey. The academics that prepared the report, Baskin Oran and ibrahim Kaboglu, were later taken to court on the basis of the Penal Code Articles 216 and 301. Article 216 rules that a person who "incites groups of the population to breed enmity or hatred towards one another by, for instance, denigrating religious values, shall be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 1-3 years." Article 312 states that "a person who explicitly insults being a Turk, the Republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly, shall be imposed a penalty of imprisonment for a term of 6 months to 3 years." For a brief summary of the report and the consequent court cases, see Milliyet Daily of 20 October 2004 and http://xvww. nethaber.com/?h=51255 reached on 10 April 2006.


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8. For example, a group belonging to Turkish Hearts, an extreme nationalist organization, protested the reception given by the USA embassy in Ankara for the representatives from the Orthodox Church in America. The group protested the representatives for demanding ecumenical recognition to the Greek Patriarch and the re-opening of the Halki Seminary. See http://www.skyturkonline.com/h_27006 l.html reached on 3 December 2004. 9. For full ECRI third report on Turkey, please consult ECRI (2005). 10. The issue of educational rights were responded by Turkey in the form of allowing language courses to be opened in private institutions. 11. On the official website of the European Parliament, http://www.europarl.eu.int, the written and oral questions addressing these issues can be traced. 12. Such a tendency occurred in 2005 as well. Cumhuriyet daily published an article on II June 2005 revealing the intelligence agency report on missionary activities. The report concluded that Christian missionary activities had apart from preaching the gospel also had a second motive-to promote ethnic divisions amongst the Kurds. According to the report, the majority of foreign missionaries came from South Korea, the USA, England, New Zealand, Australia, Gernmany, Sweden and Romania and they were said to represent Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox groups of Christians. The report entitled 'Reactionary Elements and Risks' stated that some Turkish citizens and foreigners were collaborating to form non-governmental organizations and to spread Christianity. Istanbul was identified as Turkey's missionary headquarters although places of worship were known to be established in Ankara, lzmir, Eskisehir, Antalya, Hatay, Mersin and Kusadasi. 13. In addition to the rights of non-Muslim minorities, broadcasting in non-Turkish languages also frequently came up at the regular meetings of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee. Regarding the examples of the discussions in the Committee that illustrate the importance attributed by the European parliament to the minority rights issue, see the minutes of the meetings held between 2000-2004 (European Parliament, 2000a; 2000b; 2001a; 2001b; 2002; 2003a; 2003b; 2004; 2005a). 14. Similar points on the freedom of religion, cultural rights and protection of minorities to be considered as politically most important priorities by the European Commission are also covered in the workings of the European Parliament Subcommittee on Human Rights. Please see European Parliament (2005c). References Aydin, Mustafa. 2003. "The Detenninants of Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkey's European Vocation," The Review ofInternationalAffairs, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp: 306-331. Cumhuriyvet Dailyv. 2005. I1 June. ECRI (Council of Europe European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance). 2005. Third Report on Turkey, adopted on 25 June 2004, Strasbourg, made public 15 February 2005, CRI (2005) 5, http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/ecri/l-ecri/2Country-by-cotintiy_approach/Turkey/Turkey%/`20third%/o20report%/`20-%/o20criO5-5.pdf. European Commission. 2006. "2006/35/EC: Council Decision of 23 January 2006 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with Turkey," http://ec.europa.eu/commI/enlargeinent/turkey/docs.htm. European Commission. 2005a. "2005 Enlargement Strategy Paper," Communication from the Commission, SEC (2005) 1433,1421,1422,1423,1424,1426,1428, COM(2005) 561, Brussels, http://europa.eu.int/commi/enlargement/report 2005/pdf/package_v/comi561 final_en_strategy_paper.pdf, 9 November.


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European Commission. 2005b. Turkey 2005 Progress Report. http://europa.eu.int/comm/ enlargement/report 2005/pdf/package/sec 1426 final_en_progress report tr.pdf. European Commission. 2005c. "Proposal for a Council Decision On the Principles, Priorities, and Conditions Contained in the Accession Partnership with Turkey," SEC(2005) 1426, COM(2005) 559, Brussels, http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/LexUriServ/site/en/com/ 2005/com2005_0559en01.pdf, 9 November. European Commission. 2005d. "Conclusions of the European Council on Turkey since Luxembourg (December 1997)," http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/turkey/pdf/ european councils .pdf. European Commission. 2005e. "Turkey, Presidency Conclusions, Brussels, 16/17 December 2004," http://ue.eu.int/uedocs/cmsUpload/Turkey.pdf. European Commission. 2004a. "Issues Arising From Turkey's Membership Perspective," Commission Staff Working Document, SEC(2004) 1202, COM(2004) 656 final, Brussels, http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report_2004/pdf/issues_paper_en.pdf, 6 October. European Commission. 2004b. "Recommendation of the European Commission on Turkey's Progress Towards Accession," Communication From the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament, COM(2004) 656, Brussels, http://europa.eu.int/comm/ enlargement/report 2004/pdf/tr_recommandation en.pdf, 6 October. European Commission. 2004c. 2004 Regular Report From the Commission on Turkey's Progress Towards Accession. http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report_2004/pdf/ rr_tr-2004_en.pdf European Commission. 2003. 2003 Regular Report From the Commission on Turkey's Progress Towards Accession. http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report_2003/ pdf/rr tk_final.pdf. European Commission. 2002. 2002 Regular Report From the Commission on Turkey's Progress Towards Accession. http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report2002/tu_ en.pdf. European Commission. 2001. 2001 Regular Report From the Commission on Turkey's Progress Towards Accession. http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report200l/tu_ en.pdf. European Commission. 2000. 2000 Regular Report From the Commission on Turkey's Progress Towards Accession. http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report_l I 00/pdf/ en/tu_en.pdf. European Commission. 1999. 1999 Regular Report From the Commission on Turkey's ProgressTowards Accession. http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report 10 99/pdf/ en/turkey_en.pdf. European Commission. 1998. Regular Report From the Commission on Turkey's Progress Towards Accession. http://europa.eu.int/comm/enlargement/report_ 1 _98/pdf/en/ turkey_en.pdf. European Parliament. 2000a. EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, 45th Meeting, Minutes of the Meeting of Monday/Tuesday 5-6 June 2000, Brussels, FdR 418885, PE 291.076, http://www.europarl.eu.int/intcoop/euro/jpc/turk/jpc_meeting/minutes/2000_ 06 06 en.pdf. European Parliament. 2000b. EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, 46th Meeting, Minutes of the 46th Meeting, Antalya, 20-22 November 2000, FdR 439188, PE 304.340, http://www.europarl.eu.int/intcoop/euro/jpc/turk/jpc_meeting/minutes/2000 I 122 en.pdf.


EU ENLARGEMENT CONDITIONS AND MINORITY PROTECTION: A REFLECTION ON TURKEY'S NON-MUSLIM MINORITIES

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TITLE: Eu Enlargement Conditions And Minority Protection: A Reflection On Turkey’s Non-Muslim Minorities SOURCE: East Eur Q 40 no4 Wint 2006 WN: 0634903507007 The magazine publisher is the copyright holder of this article and it is reproduced with permission. Further reproduction of this article in violation of the copyright is prohibited.

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EU Conditions and Turkey's Non-Muslim Minorities  

2006 EU Conditions and Turkey's Non-Muslim Minorities

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