Extracts from the report by Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Member of the EP, on Turkey's 2007 progress
End production: 21/05/2008 First transmission: 21/05/2008
On 21 May 2008, the House discussed Turkey's 2007 progress report drafted by Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Member of the EP. "Transform priorities and time-lines into reform plans," the Foreign Affairs Committee urged Turkey, in its latest progress report. The committee welcomed several recent legislative activities of Turkey, while insisting that the speed of reforms must pick up. The report welcomes the commitment of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister, that 2008 is going to be the year of reforms and urges the Turkish government to fulfil its promises by implementing them. On 29 March 2007, the EU gave its green light to opening membership talks with Turkey for the area of enterprise and industrial policy, the second of 35 negotiation chapters which need to be brought in line with the EU's set of rules. The EU opened the second chapter of Turkish accession negotiations, a sign of progress after the partial suspension of talks in December 2006, due to Turkey's reluctance to open up its ports and airports to ships and planes from Cyprus.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament in Strasbourg
||Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Member of the EP, (in DUTCH) on some main messages to take on board: the concerns on the case against the AKP party; saying that hopefully the Constitutional Court will follow international law; they recognised the fact that 2007 would be a year for democracy in Turkey;
saying that they need an appropriate judicial system which is independent and impartial; the new Constitution is the only way that the Turkish government can bring about reforms, the separation between State and religion; the rule of law can establish a system whereby the confidence of the citizens is won over;
saying that it is only a society which is based on respect of human rights and individual freedoms, only this sort of society can be a peaceful and prosperous one
||Janez Lenarčič, Slovenian State Secretary for European Affairs and President in office of the Council, (in SLOVENIAN) saying that the Council shares the concern of the Parliament regarding the closure procedures against the AKP party; the Presidency has issued a statement saying that the separation of powers into the executive and judicial branch is a fundamental democratic principle that needs to be respected;
saying that they need to strengthen democratic control over the military and additionally strengthen parliamentary control over the expenditure in the field of defence
||Olli Rehn, Member of the EC in charge of Enlargement, (in ENGLISH) saying that in addition to the fundamental freedoms of expression and religion, further progress is essential in such areas as cultural and linguistic rights, the rights of women and children and the rights of trade unions;
saying that Turkey cannot afford another wasted year of reforms and the EU needs to see progression and not regression in meeting democratic principles;
saying that a few words on Cyprus; now it is time for the leaders of the two communities to end the deadlock and move towards the reunification of the island; he trusts that Turkey will fully contribute to a solution; the Commission endorses a renewed UN process and they fully support both communities on the island to make the necessary, difficult compromises
||Giorgos Dimitrakopoulos, Member of the EP, (in GREEK) saying that in Turkey one comes across various groupings and forces who destabilise society; but there are also Turkish citizens who want to have a more democratic country and a more developed country that pays more respect to environment and that takes the path for pacifism
||Hannes Swoboda, Member of the EP, (in GERMAN) saying that they know that the process will take a long time and they must have a target; the target must be accession, that is the target where Europe needs to do a lot; they have to communicate with the European populations; but Turkey must do a lot in order to carry on reforms
||Cutaways (5 shots)