No announcement yet.

Turkey Warned On Human Rights

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Turkey Warned On Human Rights

    By Vincent Boland in Ankara

    Financial Times, UK
    Oct 6 2005

    Turkey must improve its human rights record and make the rule of law
    "an everyday reality" if it is to meet the criteria that will let it
    join the European Union, a senior European Commission official said
    on Thursday.

    Olli Rehn, the EU enlargement commissioner, said Turkey's continuing
    political and social reforms would be under "ever closer scrutiny"
    now it had begun the accession process, after he met Abdullah Gul,
    Turkey's foreign minister.

    "This means rigorously implementing political reforms in the areas of
    the rule of law, human rights, women's rights, the rights of religious
    communities and trade unions," Mr Rehn said. The aim should be "to
    make the rule of law an everyday reality in all walks of life".

    Amid Turkish euphoria over the start of its EU accession process this
    week, the warning appeared to be a reminder of what human rights
    campaigners claim are recent examples of the abuse of the law by
    prosecutors and judges, who operate independently of government.

    Turkey's stance on freedom of expression is already under the spotlight
    because of an attempt last month to ban a conference on the fate of
    Armenians during the break-up of the Ottoman empire. It faces even
    greater scrutiny in the next few weeks ahead of the trial of Orhan
    Pamuk, the country's most celebrated writer.

    Mr Pamuk is facing up to three years in jail if he is convicted of
    "public denigration of Turkish identity" for comments he made about
    Turkey's attitude to the Armenian issue. Mr Gul acknowledged that
    Turkey had a lot of work ahead in the accession process.

    Turkey's negative image may be due as much to its human rights
    record as to cultural or religious differences with other European
    countries. During a civil war between the state and Kurdish separatists
    in the 1980s and 1990s, there were abuses on both sides that still
    shape European attitudes, despite recent improvements.