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ANKARA: More EU concerns to Turkish membership

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  • ANKARA: More EU concerns to Turkish membership

    Turkish Daily News, Turkey
    Nov 26 2008


    Concerns have been raised by the head of a joint Turkish-European
    committee over the closure case recently opened against the countrys
    pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, and the governments
    policy regarding the Kurdish issue

    The head of the Turkish-European Union Joint Parliamentary Committee,
    Joost Lagendijk yesterday met with the leader of the DTP, Ahmet Turk,
    in Parliament. Turk claimed if the party was closed by the court, his
    party would vacate its seats in Parliament. Lagendijk told him the
    committee were following the developments with concern, the Hurriyet
    Daily News learned.

    A public prosecutor launched proceedings several months ago to shut
    down the DTP on claims the party has become a center of activities
    aimed at damaging the independence of the state and the indivisible
    integrity of its territory.

    "If our party is closed down the bridge will collapse. In that case,
    we are seriously considering abandoning Parliament," Turk told

    During the meeting, Turk argued that the governments approach toward
    the Kurdish problem was "nationalist" and "chauvinistic," saying that
    the "love it or leave it" rhetoric of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
    Erdogan further escalated the tension. For his part, Lagendijk said,
    "We are following this process with concern. Well talk with him."

    Lagendijk said they had the same sensitivity over the closure case
    filed against the DTP as the recent one against the ruling Justice and
    Development Party, or AKP, adding he would share his views during a
    meeting with the prime minister and president. He also extended
    support to the strengthening of local administrations pointed out in
    the political document of the DTP

    Lagendijk later met with the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party,
    or MHP, Devlet Bahceli, who complained the EU never spoke of the
    positive steps taken by Turkey. Lagendijk answered the EU considered
    the amendment to Article 301 of the Turkish penal code as well as the
    governments opening to Armenia as positive steps, something which was
    not agreed to by the MHP, learned the Daily News

    [HH] No chapters left

    Meanwhile, an official from Turkeys EU-Secretariat General told
    business daily Referans that no policy areas or chapters were left, in
    response to a warning from an EU official that no chapters would be
    opened with Ankara in 2009 if the reforms stalled.

    "Turkey is not satisfied with the EUs performance. We are working on
    meeting the opening benchmarks in the areas of taxation, social
    policy, competition and environment. We have an action plan for each
    and every opening and closing criteria. But the number of chapters
    that can be opened to negotiations has drastically dropped due to
    political hurdles," said the official, who declined to be named.

    Brussels suspended eight out of 35 chapters due to Turkeys refusal to
    open its sea and air ports to Greek Cyprus. France opposes the opening
    of five chapters on the assumption they would guarantee eventual

    "The number of chapters to be opened has been decreased by the EU. No
    chapter has been left due to the Cyprus row and French position," said
    the official, adding that they shared such concerns with visiting
    members of the European Parliament.

    The other obstacle, according to the same official, is that the EU has
    not yet sent to Turkey the screening reports of 10 chapters that need
    to be opened to talks. Turkish officials expect the start of
    negotiations in the areas of free movement of capital and information
    society and media, pinning their hopes on the next presidency of the
    EU, the Czech Republic.