Keskin: Turkey Not Yet Ripe For EU Membership


German news agency DDP
Aug 1 2008

Osnabrueck – In the view of Turkish human rights activist and
Aachen Peace Award Winner Eren Keskin, Turkey is "not nearly ripe for
accession to the European Union," even though the ban of the governing
Justice and Development Party (AKP) had not materialized. "There is no
freedom of opinion and no culture to express ideas freely. There are
still incidents of torture," she told [the daily] Neue Osnabruecker
Zeitung in its Wednesday [30 July] edition. Those daring to address
sensitive political issues such as the problem of Cyprus "run the
risk of ending up in jail." The same applied to how the massacres
perpetrated against the Armenians are dealt with.

The lawyer, who is of Kurdish descent, regarded "the power of the
military" as a crucial obstacle in the way of her country’s speedy EU
membership. "We are still ruled by a constitution that was drafted
by the military." The armed forces are largely in control of the
economy, the judiciary, and the media, she said. The influence of
the military is so huge "that even ordinary people in our country
have an unbelievable confidence in the military." According to her,
that even applies to the leftwing opposition Kemalists. "Even they
are under the mistaken belief that the military guaranteed the future
of Turkey," she pointed out.