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Time to deliver on rights, Rehn warns Turkey

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Time to deliver on rights, Rehn warns Turkey

Postby Sotos » Fri Nov 25, 2005 10:40 am

By Bouli Hadjioannou

ANKARA must fulfil accession criteria "to the letter" and abide by its commitments by opening up its ports to Cyprus-flag ships, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn warned this week.

In a hard-hitting address to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee meeting in Brussels on Wednesday, Rehn told Turkey’s chief negotiator Ali Babacan and Turkish MPs, that it was now time for Ankara to do its share.

This meant implementing the customs union to Cyprus, taking steps to normalise relations with Nicosia and tackling shortcomings on human rights.

"The party is over and now comes the time of delivery," the Commissioner said.

He particularly singled out free speech, a fundamental value for Europeans.

Rehn’s criticism prompted a swift reply from Ankara that insisted that the public had the freedom to express their views.

But they reflect growing concern within Europe over Turkey’s foot dragging on human rights reforms.

Turkey’s best known novelist Orhan Pamuk goes on trial next month on charges of insulting the state for saying Ankara should accept responsibility for the Armenian massacres.

Appeal

A journalist at the English-language Turkish Daily News Burak Bekdil said this week he would appeal to the European Court of Human rights after a court served him a 20-month suspended jail sentence for "insulting the judiciary."

And Turkish Prime Minister caused a storm in Copenhagen last week when he refused to attend a joint press conference with his Danish counterpart because of the presence of a Kurdish TV crew.

Rehn made clear the EU was concerned by these recurrent signs of intolerance from a would-be member.

The JPC meeting was the first since Brussels launched accession talks with Turkey and Rehn seized the opportunity to send some succinct messages.

Each and every country wishing to join the EU "must meet the criteria to the letter", he said, and added: "There are no shortcuts to Europe, only the regular route."

The EU has kept its word and launched accession talks. It was now Turkey’s turn to ensure abide by its commitments – particularly as regards lifting restrictions on Cypriot vessels docking at Turkish ports.

The accession partnership also refers to the need for Turkey to take steps towards the normalization of bilateral relations between Turkey and Cyprus while Ankara must continue to support efforts for a Cyprus settlement, Rehn added.



Violations

The Finnish Commissioner said that reforms had slowed in Turkey and implementation remains uneven. Human rights violations continue to occur.

Rehn singled out the following priorities:

First: Freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, must be fully guaranteed in line with the European Convention of Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.

"For a European observer, it seems like some nationalist-minded prosecutors find it easier to fight a rearguard action against the reforms through extremely dubious interpretation of the new Penal Code, as if they had not noticed that Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and negotiating for membership in the EU, where pluralism and free speech are basic values which cannot be compromised," he said.

Second: Turkey needs to implement legislation relating to women’s rights, particularly the Civil Code, the new penal code and the law on the protection of the family.

Third: Non-Muslim religious minorities and communities face difficulties that must be addressed through a new law on Foundations, in line with the relevant European standards.

Fourth: The EU expects Turkey to implement the measures adopted in the context of the zero tolerance policy against torture and ill-treatment.

Fifth: Turkey needs to ensure that full trade union rights are respected in line of EU standards and relevant ILO conventions.

By starting accession negotiations the EU kept its word and laid its trust on the continuation of the transformation of Turkey.



Open ports



"It is now up to Turkey to demonstrate a real sense of ownership of the reforms'' which should not only be the result of outside pressures or rulings by the European Court of Human Rights, he said.

Cypriot MEPs at the meeting had messages of their own, Yiannakis Matsis spoke about the destruction of Cyprus’s cultural heritage in the Turkish-occupied north and the need to protect the Pontian dialect in the Black Sea areas.

And Marios Matsakis told the meeting Turkey must open its ports and airports to Cypriot ships and aircraft, recognise the Republic of Cyprus and withdraw its occupation troops.
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Postby Piratis » Sat Nov 26, 2005 10:01 am

"The party is over and now comes the time of delivery," the Commissioner said.

Turkey will "deliver" either they like it or not. I hope now it started to become clear to them that EU membership and occupation of Cyprus can not exist together. They will have to choose, and the faster they do it the better for them.

Turkey’s best known novelist Orhan Pamuk goes on trial next month on charges of insulting the state for saying Ankara should accept responsibility for the Armenian massacres.


No comments on this bg_turk?
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Postby zan » Sat Nov 26, 2005 5:27 pm

Piratis wrote:

Turkey’s best known novelist Orhan Pamuk goes on trial next month on charges of insulting the state for saying Ankara should accept responsibility for the Armenian massacres.


No comments on this bg_turk?


I can Piratis. It's wrong!
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Postby bg_turk » Sat Nov 26, 2005 9:34 pm

Piratis wrote:
Turkey’s best known novelist Orhan Pamuk goes on trial next month on charges of insulting the state for saying Ankara should accept responsibility for the Armenian massacres.


No comments on this bg_turk?


If Orhan Pamuk is indeed found guilty of insulting the state, it will be deplorable, disgusting, unacceptable, and against the most fundamental principles of democracy and freedom of speech. Every Turkish citizen should stand up against the "patriotic" lawyer that is suing Orhan and proclaim loudly into his face: "Not in my name". I am sick and tired of the cheap self-defeating egocentrical nationalism of the bozkurts, which is apparently the only thing that they are capable of. Theirs is a cheap populism, and if Turkish people fall into their trap, they will look humiliatingly cheap in the eyes of the world.

I expect, hope and pray for this trial to fail.
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Postby akiner » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:12 am

Rehn should also warn Switzerland and France too where u will be under that kinda investigations if you say there didnt be an armenian genocide in history... But wait a second why should i care about double standarts of Eu or Europeans "else European Wannabees"
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Postby bg_turk » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:43 am

akiner wrote:Rehn should also warn Switzerland and France too where u will be under that kinda investigations if you say there didnt be an armenian genocide in history... But wait a second why should i care about double standarts of Eu or Europeans "else European Wannabees"


The attitude of Switzerland and France is unacceptable too. They can pass all the laws they want, history will not be changed.

But at least I would have hoped you would have condemned the incident as well? Do you support the trial of Orhan Pamuk?
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Postby akiner » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:54 am

yep, at least i can guess the decision of the court. U should take this as an example for the efforts of justice for according on the new laws that TBMM has applied
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britain loves turkey

Postby lysi » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:32 pm

Turkey is the best pal of britain and the usa, they can do what they want and the british & american governments turn a blind eye.
At least we get a bit of support from russia.
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Postby pumpernickle » Fri Dec 02, 2005 3:48 pm

Lysi, you cant say stuff like that without backing it up with facts. It's just dumb.

How do america and britain allow turkey to get away with what it wants? what is all that about?? are you refering to 1974??

Get over yourself!!!
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Postby Sotos » Fri Dec 02, 2005 9:18 pm

I guess what Lysi means is that the US/UK that are the backbone of UN while they are very strict with some others like Iraq and Libya they turn a blind eye on the actions of Turkey.
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