EPP-ED Group, European Parliament
July 15 2005

Dissatisfying presentation by Turkey's Chief Accession Negotiator.
Renate Sommer MEP

German MEP Renate Sommer (CDU) has today expressed her
dissatisfaction with the first appearance of Mr Ali Babacan, the
Turkish chief negotiator for accession, at the Foreign Affairs
Committee of the European Parliament: "Mr Babacan consequently
avoided talking about the most obvious shortcomings of Turkey
regarding the accession criteria such as the recognition of Cyprus,
the Armenian genocide, the status of the Kurds and the adoption of
the so-called law on foundations. Moreover, he was rather hesitant
and evasive in answering the enquiries of the parliamentarians who
were present. My question on the recognition of Cyprus according to
international law was even completely ignored. Obviously, Mr Babacan
thinks that he only has to negotiate with 24 Member States about the
accession of his country. This performance was less than convincing
and bodes ill for the course of negotiations in the future," alleged
Ms Sommer, Vice Chairman of the EP-Delegation on the relations with
Turkey in Brussels today.

Renate Sommer deemed Mr Babcan's remarks completely unacceptable as
he was "threatening" Members of the European Parliament to abstain
from critical questions which may be perceived as "insults" by the
Turkish people. According to Renate Sommer it is rather the very duty
of parliamentarians to insist on Ankara's compliance with the
Copenhagen Criteria which have still not been met by Turkey in a
single point despite of the fact that the start of negotiations is
already anticipated: "As freely elected parliamentarians we are
politicians and not diplomats. Mr Babacan's reiterated assertion that
Turkey would continue the necessary reform process but needs more
time for its implementation is as such highly unsatisfactory. We are
setting the rules, not Turkey".

The German Christian Democratic Member also dismissed the statement
of the Turkish Chief negotiator that Turkey had to comply with the
most rigorous accession conditions of all candidate countries:
"Turkey has to comply with the same accession criteria as all the
other candidate countries. Even the Turkish government has come to
admit that the negotiation process will be extremely long and
tedious. This only proves that Turkey has the biggest shortcomings
and rather a lot of stumbling blocks on the way." It is therefore
very unfortunate that Mr Babacan once again categorically excluded
the alternative of a privileged partnership. "Turkey will have to
accept this solution as the only viable perspective, otherwise this
will fall back on Turkey in the long run." In conclusion, Renate
Sommer stated that "without a radical change in mentality, a full
recognition of Cyprus according to international law, an open
discussion of the Armenian question, an end to the war against the
Kurds in the South-East of the country, equal rights for women and
unrestricted religious freedom including the right to own property,
we will continue to refuse Turkish accession to the EU."

(translation from the original German)

For further information:
Renate Sommer, MEP, Tel.: +32 2 2847383
EPP-ED-Press Service, Knut Goelz, Tel.: +32 479 972144

http://www.epp-ed.org/Press/showpr.asp?PRControlDocTypeID=1&PRControlID=39 18&PRContentID=7226&PRContentLG=en

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress