2012 progress report on Turkey :
- extracts of the debate
EPRef93320 // European Parliament , Strasbourg, EP Plenary session, Hemicycle //
Lieu: European Parliament, Strasbourg
End production: 17/04/2013 First transmission: 17/04/2013
MEPs debated today in the Plenary Session in Strasbourg on the Turkey 2012 progress report for the accession of this country to the European Union. Foreign Affairs (AFET) Committee reached the conclusion that constructive relations between Turkey and the EU needed to be renewed by mutual engagement. MEP did also call for negotiations to be opened on the judiciary fundamental rights and home affairs and praised current talks that might help settle the Kurdish issue. However, they welcomed direct political dialogue between the Turkish government and the former Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leader, Abdullah Öcalan, which, from their point of view, might open up the prospect of an historic agreement settling the Kurdish conflict in a peaceful and democratic way. They did also welcome the new legislation allowing the use of native languages in trials, as well as discussion on the use of Kurdish in education.
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, Strasbourg
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Lucinda CREIGHTON, European Council Presidency, "We call on Turkey in particular to continue to improve the observance of fundamental rights and freedoms both in law and in practice. We have serious concerns with regards to freedom of expression. We see large number of legal cases been brought against writers, journalists, academics and human rights defenders for expressing their non violent opinions as well as frequent website bans ."
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Lucinda CREIGHTON, European Council Presidency, "There is one particular unresolved issue which is a direct baring on both the accession negotiations and EU Turkey relations in general; we deeply regret that Turkey despite our repeated calls continues to refuse to fulfil its obligations with regard to the additional protocol to the association agreement. Our position on this is very well known, in the absence of progress on the full non discriminatory implementation of the protocol, the EU will maintain its measures from 2006 which will continue to affect overall progress in the negotiations."
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Štefan FÜLE, European Commission," We are confident that we can open the negotiations chapters again in the 2013. Second, we are making progress on our cooperation on visa and migration as we have just said. We are confident that we can soon start a visa dialogue with Turkey together with the signature of the readmission agreement between Turkey and the EU. "
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Štefan FÜLE, European Commission," Provisions remain in Turkish legislation that are a cause for concern, notably as regards freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association."
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Štefan FÜLE, European Commission, "Regarding the Cyprus issue. The Commission looks forward to a relaunch of full fledged negotiations as soon as possible with the aim of reaching a swift conclusion of the talks."
||SOUNDBITE (Dutch) by Ria OOMEN-RUIJTEN(EPP, NL),"President , I tried to write a fair and balanced resolution that really reflects the situation in Turkey, welcomes reforms but it is critical, indeed very critical where it is necessary. Once thing I lke to say is that here is really a very good chance now for Turkey with a new government in power to tackle the Kurdish problem in a positive way , making agreement with the Kurds and I hope that it will happen this year."
||SOUNDBITE (Spanish) by Raimon OBIOLS (S&D, SP),"Some very important things are taking place in Turkey, there is a whole range of reforms that are being implemented , a number of laws concerning the judiciary, human rights, equal opportunities for women and some of these reforms are somewhat contradictory and obviously what we want to do is ensure that the outcome is as democratic and progressive as possible."
||SOUNDBITE (German) by Alexander Graf LAMBSDORFF (ALDE, DE), " All I can say yet again is that if you are talking of country that is negotiating for access you can not simply have a country that denies the borders that should apply and I would also remind you of the situation of journalists who are being held in prison."
||SOUNDBITE (French) by Hélène FLAUTRE, (Greens/EFA, FR),"Today there is an event happening in Turkey, I don't think we are aware of the scope, the extent of this,. We have Mr Ocalan who is still in prison and the Prime Minister Mr Erdogan and the initiative to negotiate is very much supported by civil society and the population and it is going to be a debate on the Constitution as well."
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Charles TANNOCK (ECR, UK),"Many of us were extremely disappointed by Turkey' refusal to cooperate with the Republic of Cyprus as presidency of the Council last year. And of course it will be extremely difficult to consider Turkish membership to the EU while the Cyprus recognition is unresolved."
||SOUNDBITE (English) by Charles TANNOCK (ECR, UK)," I would finally encourage Turkey to offer greater support to its minorities, whether they are Christians, Syriacs or indeed the issue of LGBT rights need to be taken more seriously but despite of all these problems and challenges I reiterate that from the view point of the ECR , Turkey remains a key friend and NATO ally."
||SOUNDBITE (German) by Elmar BROK (EPP, DE), "At the same time we also make it quite clear in this report that there has been no real breakthrough in many of these areas, that is true for freedom of opinion, we already heard about the case of the pianist, we also about the minority situation and their legal rights, that is an issue that goes on and on and it is very important for us to refer to that to the Ankara protocol and urge for progress ."
||Cutaways (4 shots)