Turkey Watch

Watching the Turkish nail being put into Europian coffin.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Christian Democrats Delay Progress Report on Turkey

From Zaman

The European Parliament (EP) Foreign Affairs Commission has postponed debates over a draft progress report on Turkey until September.

Dutch parliamentarian Camiel Eurlings, a member of the Christian Democrat Party, said they did not have enough time to combine the proposed amendments.

“The report should not be hastily debated. When the issue is Turkey, it needs to be discussed in greater detail.”

The Commission will discuss the report during a session in the first week of September in Strasbourg before it is sent to the general assembly.

The Christian Democrats have purportedly postponed the report in order to negatively affect the contents of the report, while others believe the report was delayed in order to ensure inclusion of the recent positive developments in Turkey.

Speaking at the meeting of the Foreign Affairs Commission, representatives from political groups stressed that recently, positive developments on the Cyprus issue should be included in the report.

There were also certain reforms regarding women and animal rights, compulsory religious education and the mater of Alevis.

The same representatives recalled that the EU Commission’s Progress Report on Turkey will also be debated in the fall, and highlighted the importance of releasing both reports at the same time.

However, some EP sources suggested that the Christian Democrats deliberately postponed the report in order to negatively influence Report and to create a Cyprus crisis between Turkey and the EU.

The same sources reported that harsh exchanges have broken out between political groups over the Armenian issue, which, is frequently raised by the Christian Democrats, who remain hesitant about Turkey’s entry into the EU.

The Christian Democrat group has been commissioning reports on Turkey for years.

EU parliamentarians and political groups will not be able to make motions for amendments to be included in the report.

However, developments will be included in Turkey's report through compromise motions upon Eurlings’ approval.

The draft report calls on Turkey to accelerate the implementation of reforms in line with the reform process, focusing mainly on freedom of speech, religious and minority rights, civilian-military relations, women's rights, trade unions, cultural rights and the autonomy of the judiciary.

The report welcomes the 9th reform package prepared by the government of the ruling Justice and Development Party, and asks Turkey to remove any item from the Counterterrorism Act that restricts basic rights and freedoms.

The report stated that government officials, military and security personnel shouldn’t receive preferential treatment in the courts; condemned the Kurdistan Workers’ Party terrorist network and conveyed concerns over former Van Public Prosecutor Ferhat Sarikaya’s dismissal.

Furthermore, the report asked Turkey to lower the 10 percent electoral threshold, recognize the Alevis as a religious minority and to open Turkish ports to Greek Cypriot traffic.

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