EU urges Turkey to re-launch peace process with Kurds
by Roni Alasor / Lorin Sarkisian
Brussels, 10 November 2015 - Middle East Diplomatic (MED) - EU urges Turkey to end the violence and to re-launch the peace process with Kurds. The EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn presented today in the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels the main points of the annual progress reports on Turkey and on the other six candidate countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYROM, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia).
In a speech in Foreign Affairs Committee of the EP, Commissioner Hahn criticized Turkey for the recent escalation of violence in the country, the human rights violations and the restrictions on media freedom.
“It is imperative that the peace talks resume,” states the progress report and specifies that the “anti-terror measures need to be proportionate”.
The two biggest political groups in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP) and the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) shared the EU Commission criticism towards Turkey and the other EU candidates’ states.
S&D President Gianni Pittella urged “once again the Turkish government to accelerate the reform process in order to apply the acquis communautaire (the laws and principles of the EU) and the Copenhagen criteria, both in legislation and in practice”.
"Turkey, as a candidate country for EU membership, has rights and obligations, and fully respecting the rule of law and fundamental rights – particularly media freedom and judicial independence – is an obligation and a precondition for European integration”, underlined President Pittella.
Richard Howitt, the S&D Group`s foreign affairs co-ordinator said: “The S&D Group has always been a great supporter of Turkey`s integration with the European Union. We also consider Turkey as a central partner in facing the migration crisis, as well as a major player in solving the conflict in Syria. However, we express our grave concern about violations of rights of assembly, of press freedom and of minority rights, particularly during the electoral period.”
EPP President Joseph Daul said: “Giving enlargement prospects to our neighbouring countries in the South-East and the East represents the best foreign policy tool to promote democracy and reforms in these societies. Only in a state where the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and the fight against corruption is consistently applied will the economy flourish and reward not only the local societies, but also the EU as a whole”.