EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT SLAMS TURKEY ANEW

AINA, CA
Assyrian International News Agency
Sept 6 2006

Brussels -- Marking the start of looming crisis between Europe and
Ankara over its accession bid, European lawmakers overwhelmingly
approved last Monday a highly critical Report, accusing Turkey
of slowing down necessary political and institutional reforms for
accession into the 25 members bloc.

The Committee of Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament voted
through a Report, which slammed Turkey for not fulfilling the
commitments it undertook when it received the green light last October
to start talks.

"The European Parliament ... regrets the slowing down of the reform
process," the Report said, pointing to what it called "persistent
shortcomings" in a range of areas. The lawmakers said Turkey had shown
"insufficient progress" in the areas of freedom of __expression,
religious and minority rights, women's rights and law enforcement
since EU leaders agreed to start accession talks 11 months ago.

"We are not saying that we are not still committed to the talks or that
we do not want Turkey to join the EU," said Dutch MP Camiel Eurlings,
who prepared the Report. "But we are sending a clear signal to Turkey
that it must move quickly with its reforms," he told the Foreign
Affairs Committee.

Turkey must recognize Cyprus, withdraw its troops from the island

The Report also urged Ankara to recognise the Republic of Cyprus,
a UN and EU member-state, and urged it to "take concrete steps for
the normalization of bilateral relations with the Republic as soon as
possible." It also called Ankara to open its ports and air to Cypriot
traffic, to stop vetoeing Cyprus' access to various international
organizations and to withdraw in a reasonable timetable its occupation
troops, estimated at 40.000, from the northern areas of Cyprus.

Turkey must respect religious and ethnic minorities, women rights

The Report also censured insufficient progress on freedom of
__expression and raised concerns over the lot of Turkey's Christian
religious minorities, calling for the recognition of the Ecumenical
Patriarch, the leader of the world's Orthodox Christians, and
the reopening of the Theological Schools of the Greek and Armenian
Communities. The Report also criticised the unusually high threshold
for parliamentary representation, under which a political party must
score 10 percent nationwide; the latter aims at making difficult
or eliminating the possibility of Kurds being elected in Turkey's
national assembly. Violence against women and wide corruption were
also pointed out as serious problems in the Report.

Turkey must ackowledge the Genocide

Moreover the Report demanded that, as a precondition of EU membership,
Ankara should acknowledge that its predecessor, Ottoman Turkey,
committed Genocide against Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians (Arameans)
during WWI.

Armenian, Greek and Assyrian (Aramean) circles have welcomed the
Parliament's Report as objective and reflecting historical truth and
highlighted the necessity for Turkey to cleanse its past in the same
way as Germany did after WWII.

Turkey Snubs the Report

In an angrily reaction, the Turkish Foreign Ministry dismissed the
Report, saying that it lacked common sense and smelled of political
bias against Turkey.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Namik Tan told a press conference that
Turkey has no intention to open its ports and air to Cypriot traffic.

The Turkish Prime Minister T. Erdogan also snubed the value of the
Report as non binding and dismissed any genocide recognition.

Turkey ostensibly denies having committed a Genocide against its
indigenous Christian populations of Armenian, Greeks and Assyrians,
while its Penal Code maintains relevant provisions punishing any
discussion, in oral or written form, on the genocide issue.

If by December 2006 Turkey has not complied, the annual EU summit
of heads of state and government is likely to put on hold or revoke
Turkey's accession talks.

Any country wishing to join the 25-member bloc requires the approval
of both the European Parliament and the agreement of all member
states. The Report will go before a full parliament session at the
end of the month and is likely to be raised when chief Turkish EU
negotiator Ali Babacan visits Brussels from Wednesday. The conservative
EPP-ED, the assembly's largest political group, still favours a
"privileged partnership" with Turkey rather than full EU membership,
pointing at wide and profound opposition from the European public
opinion for an eventual EU accession of a pre-dominentaly Muslim
country.

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