Turkey’s history of human rights abuses is long. The country maintains long history for denying basic rights against its Kurdish population. The population stretches to nearly twenty three million. Some of the basic rights denied include the right to broadcast or learn by use of their own language. The abuse of human rights by Turkey has derailed the efforts made to join EU. During the 20th century, reports indicated that a high incidence of torture in Turkey with the number of torture victims was increasing considerably. In addition, most of the information on human rights and freedoms in Turkey remained vague. In general, human rights information was not clear and accurate. This is evident by the provisions in the constitution where no protection exists for any opinion or thought that is contrary to national interests. As such, the history of Turkish human rights has continually attracted both internal and external scrutiny. The violation of human rights through extrajudicial killings received no attention from the government.
The new Turkish government indicated a commitment to EU membership from the start, and as a result, various human rights obligations/responsibilities had to be met. A broad collection of human rights such as freedom of religion, freedom of the press, minorities rights; there is also a relook and amendment of women's rights, the rights of Kurdish language in Turkey, and children prosecuted under anti-terrorism laws in Turkey, such children with Kurdish background receive adults treatment in the fight against terror. As part of the reforms and in the need to join European Union, the new government in 2002 passed laws that allowed television and radio broadcasts together with Kurdish private education option. There was an extension in education option in the year 2010 to include graduate and master level university program. In addition, there was an establishment of a Kurdish literature and language department in the state-owned university of Mardin Artuklu. Moreover, to press on its EU candidacy, the government has begun to restore Kurdish villages’ names, as well as allowing Kurds to make their religions sermons using their own language.
Since 2002, minority groups had the opportunity to operate private courses. The courses teach any language that is spoken in Turkey. In order to address women rights violations, the new government and other foundations have embarked on improving the education levels and literacy rates among women through education campaigns. The number of women and the girl children attracted in the campaign is significant. This is a credit to the institutions spearheading the campaign. The aim of this was to combat forced marriages, domestic violence, and the so-called honor killings among women. The move to join EU have been strengthened by the overwhelming commitments by the government which include signing of treaties, a guarantee of fundamental freedoms and rights, together with the establishment of an Ombudsman and an independent institution of human rights. This came together with efforts to strengthen human rights institutional framework by the government. This helped in building the relationship and establishments of adequate and relevant laws governing their cordial well-being.
In conclusion, during the year Turkey has registered positive developments. For instance, on April 2011, there was an amendment on the political parties’ law. The amendment allows for campaigning in other languages that include Kurdish. The government, also on July, amended the anti-terror legislation to exclude prosecution of minors as adults under the laws, allowed for a minor release that have been convicted under the law, and lowered the punishment for illegal meetings and demonstrations. Finally, on September 2011, a referendum was conducted that saw the passage of a set of constitutional reforms.