March 17 2004
EP praises reforms in Turkey, but says not enough
Brussels, March 17, IRNA — Turkey has made many important reforms
since last year in order to meet the political criteria to join the
but still needs to go considerably further, said the European
Parliament`s Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday when it adopted a
report on Turkey`s progress towards EU accession.
The report asked the Commission, as part of the Pre-Accession
Strategy, to systematically address the shortcomings in the rule of
law and the democratic deficit in Turkey, according to an EP press
The Committee stressed that settlement of the Cyprus conflict was
an essential condition for progress on Turkey`s EU membership
MEPs praised the strong motivation and political will demonstrated
by the AKP government in favor of making reforms that are
revolutionary for Turkey, but they said that such reforms can only be
judged on the basis of how they are put into practice at all levels
the judicial and security system and the civil and military
MEPs criticized the continuing influence of the army in politics,
business, culture and education, continuing torture practices and
mistreatment, the intimidation and harassment of human rights
defenders, the discrimination of religious minorities and the fact
that trade union freedom is not fully guaranteed.
Turkey should also speed up the implementation of certain cultural
rights that allow the education in and use of languages other than
Turkish in the media, especially Kurdish, said the report.
The EU itself must also be prepared for Turkey`s possible
accession and the consequent new geo-political situation for the EU,
They said Turkey would significantly enhance European security and
give EU policy in the region greater authority and effectiveness.
MEPs said it will be up to Turkey to decide whether it wants, or
will be able, to accept the political principles and values of the EU
as appropriate for Turkey`s state and society.
The EP report also called on Turkey to reopen its borders with
armenia and promote good neighborly relations with that country.