CJEU announces ruling on the PKK's action against terror list

The CJEU has confirmed that the 2014 "terror list" must be annulled with regard to the PKK. With regard to the subsequent lists until 2020, the PKK's complaint was dismissed.

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in Luxembourg has published the judgment in the case against the classification of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as a terrorist organisation. The trial was about EU lists of terrorist organisations in the period 2014 to 2020. While the EU Court of Justice had already ruled in 2018 that the PKK was wrongly on the "terrorist list" between 2014 and 2017, the European Council appealed against the ruling. The PKK also appealed against the lists from 2018 to 2020. Both cases have been merged by the court, with the first hearing taking place on 31 March.

In the new ruling, the CJEU confirms that the 2014 list must be annulled with regard to the PKK. With regard to the subsequent lists until 2020, the PKK's claim was rejected. The judgment is very comprehensive and consists of 260 paragraphs. According to the judgement, the parties to the lawsuit must pay their own expenses. Appeals against the judgement are possible in principle. 

According to the information obtained, the PKK's lawyers will meet soon to evaluate the decision and determine the next move since the decision of the Court of Justice can be appealed. The court's overall decision consists of 260 articles.

The "terror list" is formally updated every six months, but the PKK was put on the list again and again for the same reasons. Murat Karayılan and Duran Kalkan, leading members of the PKK, have filed a complaint against this. 


After the German state put the PKK onto its list of banned organizations on November 26, 1993, a new security concept was introduced around the world following the attack on the Twin Towers in the USA in 2001.

The European Union created its own list in December of the same year as part of the "combating terrorism" imposed by the USA. The PKK was thus included in the list in 2002.

Since 2014, the European Court of Justice has dealt with several cases concerning the PKK. A 2018 ruling by the Court canceled the lists between 2014 and 2017.

The court thus found the arguments for listing the PKK as "inadequate" and ruled that the group could not be included in the list.

The EU appealed against this decision. Immediately after, the UK asked in 2018 to keep the PKK on the list, and the PKK was automatically relisted on January 9, 2018, based on the same arguments. Thereupon, the Kurdish side filed a lawsuit against the new list on March 7 the same year.

The objection of the Council of Europe to the previous decision and the case files against the new lists were merged and the first hearing was held on March 31, 2022.

At the hearing on March 31, the Court of Justice criticized the Council of Europe and reacted to the "copy-paste" defence that included the same arguments despite the cancelation of the previous lists.


The European Court of Justice is expected to decide on another case filed by the PKK against the lists after 2020. The judgement is expected to be announced on 14 December.