speak out ahead of Turkish PM's EU visit
National Party and Plaid Cymru Euro-MPs have urged Europe's political
leaders not to give ground on the strict conditions required before Turkey
will be allowed to begin negotiations on joining the EU. The Scottish and
Welsh Euro-MPs were speaking ahead of tomorrow's (Thursday) visit to the
European Parliament in Brussels by Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mr
Erdogan will meet the leader's of Parliament's political groups as well as
the Parliament's President. The European Commission is due to publish a
report on October 6 on Turkey's progress towards meeting criteria for
talks to join the EU.
Turkish Parliament had been considering reforms to the country's penal
code in order to meet the conditions set down by the EU, but this was
surrounded in controversy last week when a clause criminalising adultery
was included. In addition, SNP and Plaid Cymru want assurances that Turkey
will also soften its attitude to the disadvantaged Kurdish minority,
recognising their right to education in the Kurdish language and the right
to self determination for the Kurdish people.
from Brussels, Ian Hudghton
MEP (Scottish National Party) said:
European Parliament has to remain firm in insisting that Turkey makes real
progress on democratic reforms before we can begin talks on their
membership of the EU. In principle, Turkey's eventual membership of the EU
would be good for Europe and good for Turkey - but it is now up to the
Turkish government to prove that they can take the necessary steps to make
serious concerns about the Turkish regime's treatment of the Kurdish
people, and want an assurance that their political, cultural and
linguistic rights will be respected. Reports suggest that some 40% of the
Kurdish population are illiterate - just one of the legacies of an
education system that fails to promote teaching in the Kurdish
language. The Turkish government must respect and defend the human rights
of all of the people that live within its borders if it hopes one day to
join the EU."
Cymru's Jill Evans MEP
us were deeply concerned that Turkey had suspended the programme of
reforms to its penal code needed to satisfy the criteria set down for EU
membership negotiations. We still need to see substantial progress from
the Turkish government before negotiations can start, particularly in
terms of better protection for women's rights and a genuine commitment to
equality of opportunity.
be totally unacceptable for Europe to give Turkey a blank cheque, opening
the door for negotiations before reforms have begun. It has to be the
other way round, first we need to see real progress on reform, and then we
can start negotiations."
(Scottish National Party) commented:
welcome the eventual accession of Turkey to the European Union but we are
now entering make or break time for the Turkish government. Mr Erdogan
must understand that he cannot expect Europe to bend the rules for Turkey.
There are clear reforms that have to be made before talks on membership
can begin and this must remain the European Union's firm, non-negotiable
position. We also want clear assurances that Turkey will act to defend and
protect the human rights of the Kurdish people and safeguard their right
to an education in their own language."