View Full Version : Times - "Leaked report shows EU reluctance to admit Turkey"!!!!!!

1 november 2006, 22:35

Times - "Leaked report shows EU reluctance to admit Turkey":

BRUSSELS / 31 October 2006

Crisis talks to try to put Turkey back on track to join the European Union
were called tonight as a leaked assessment found the country's progress
stalling in a number of key areas.

A review of Turkish reforms due out next week will be critical of the
continued use of torture and its harassment of writers, according to a draft
made public today.

The progress update next Tuesday will also warn that Turkey's accession
talks face suspension unless it ends its blockade of vessels from Cyprus, an
EU member state which Ankara refuses to recognise.

The Finns, who hold the rotating EU presidency, are trying to gather key
players from Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Turkish Northern Cyprus and the
European Commission together this weekend to try and break the deadlock.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, indicated that he would
send a representative, but warned that progress was only possible in return
for ending the international isolation of Northern Cyprus, which is
recognised only by Turkey after its troops seized it in 1974.

Details of the compromise plan remain secret but are understood to focus on
lifting the EU trade embargo on Northern Cyprus with a reciprocal opening of
Turkey's ports to Cypriot vessels.

"We will discuss the Finnish plan but this plan is not very reasonable," Mr
Erdogan was quoted as saying by Turkish Daily News today.

"There is no change in our stance. The EU must keep its word and break the
isolation . If this does not happen, no one should expect us to move

Talks began on Turkey's accession to the EU a year ago but have suffered a
series of blows in recent months, with both the German Chancellor, Angela
Merkel, and the French presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy suggesting
that the country could become a "privileged partner" rather than a member.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission, acknowledged
last month that the speed of Turkey's accession was slipping and noted that
it could take 20 years to fulfil the entry criteria.

The leaked draft of the report on Turkey being prepared by Olli Rehn, the EU
enlargement commissioner, stated that, while there had been a reduction in
the state use of torture, "cases of torture and ill treatment are still
being reported, in particular outside detention centres".

For several months he has been calling for the modification or scrapping of
Article 301 of Turkey's penal code under which dozens of writers and authors
have been pursued by the courts, including Orhan Pamuk, the 2006 Nobel
literature prize winner.

Mr Rehn's draft report added: "Prosecutions and convictions for the
expression of non-violent opinion...are a serious cause for concern." It
also criticises Turkey for failing to tackle corruption, establish the
independence of the judiciary or adequately protect the rights of minority

The appetite for meeting EU demands has waned in Turkey in line with the
growing "enlargement fatigue" being expressed in Europe and observers
believe there is little chance of reviving enthusiasm ahead of elections in

A senior Commission official said: "I would not say that Turkey has gone
into reverse but they have not moved when there was an expectation of
change. They seem to have got stuck.

"Of course there are the elections in March next year but nevertheless you
would have expected to see more.

"The question is, can we keep the show on the road over the next few months
or do we actually start going into reverse?"

Mr Rehn has warned of a looming "train crash" in Turkey's accession talks
which will come to a head at an EU summit in December.


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