ANKARA: Turkey Should Resume Its Reform Process, Rehn


Turkish Press
Oct 4 2006

ANKARA – Turkey should resume its reform process with determination,
said European Commissioner for enlargement Olli Rehn.

Holding a joint press conference with Salih Kilic, the chairman of
Turk-Is (Confederation of Turkish Employees’ Trade Unions) in capital
Ankara, Rehn stated that he is visiting Turkey for three reasons, and
listed them as ensuring cooperation among social partners and showing
the importance they attach to the NGOs; marking the first anniversary
of start of Turkey-EU entry talks. "And, thirdly I am here because
I don’t want this first anniversary to be the last one," he said.

Rehn pointed out that Turkey should fulfil its liabilities,
particularly those stemming from additional protocol to the Customs

On the recent initiative launched by EU Acting President Finland
regarding Cyprus, Rehn said that this initiative has not been rejected
by any parties so far, and noted that all parties are trying to find
a solution as they have seen the seriousness of this matter.

Rehn refrained from detailing this initiative, but he said, "I don’t
want to be so much optimistic but this is an encouraging situation."


On Chief of General Staff Gen. Yasar Buyukanit’s remarks about
fundamentalist threat and asked if he sees such a threat, Rehn said
that they have great respect to the professionalism of the Turkish
Armed Forces, but underlined importance of reforms for democratization
of civilian-military relations.

"The army is under civilian control in European democracies," he said.


Commenting on the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, Rehn noted
that the freedom of expression is defined as a fundamental freedom
in the European Convention on Human Rights.

Rehn said, "you see that there is not any concept like insulting
Britishness or insulting Finnishness. So, there is no approach in EU
countries like the approach in Article 301 (insulting Turkishness)."

Rehn pointed out that the number of cases filed under this article
has risen, pointing out that more than 60 people have been tried
under Article 301.

Most of the cases ended up with acquittal, he said. "Turkey is a strong
country, why does it need such an article. It is not an article in
line with EU standards," he noted.

Rehn said that there should not be any violence when expressing

"If any thought incites violence, this is another thing. In this case,
it cannot be considered within the scope of freedom of expression,"
he added.

Rehn emphasized that it will be for the best interest of Turkish
people if Turkey fully ensures freedom of expression, and said
this will also be important for not only social change, democratic
progress and Turkey’s modernization, but also it is related with the
negotiation process.


Stressing that recognition of the so-called Armenian genocide
allegations is not a precondition before Turkey’s membership, Rehn
said that such historical issues should be solved within Turkey,
and underlined importance of discussion of this matter by Turkey
and Armenia.

Rehn said that the EU is supporting all types of dialogue aiming to
resolve this matter, and welcomed Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s
proposal to set up a joint commission of historians.

Reiterating resumption of Turkey’s reform process, Rehn said that the
ninth reform package should be adopted as a first step, then freedom
of expression, rights of Non-Muslims and religious minorities should
be taken up.

"We may prevent a train crash by taking necessary decisions," he added.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS