Letters: Threats to Turkey

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Sir: Your leading article "If Turkey is to join the EU it must stop abusing the Kurds" (12 April) is an embodiment of double standards.

You urge the Western powers to give an ultimatum to Turkey to "treat its Kurdish minority decently", and you associate that minority with the PKK, one of the most blood-thirsty terrorist organisations in the world. This is tantamount to associating the Catholic minority in Ulster with the "Real IRA". You also add the threat that, if Turkey does not abide by this "ultimatum", it should not be considered for EU membership.

Undoubtedly Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin, as, indeed, other citizens, deserve to have all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution to all citizens, under normal circumstances. But there is an emergency in Turkey, where a ruthless, sanguinary and secessionist organisation is striving to dismember the country. Turkey is merely doing its utmost to preserve its integrity, security and independence, which any sovereign state has a right to do.

I am hopeful that the general election in Turkey on 18 April will result in the accession to power of a strong and benevolent government that will tackle all the problems of its Kurdish citizens, within the boundaries of Turkey. However, threatening Turkey with ultimatums and threats of forfeiture of EU membership is counter-productive and may lead to the West's losing a good ally. Besides, in view of the recent treatment accorded to Turkey by the EU, that organisation has lost all influence that it might have had over that state.

Professor S R SONYEL

London W1