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Commission goes through motions but standstill in EU-Turkey relations main concern


12 Oct 2011



The European Commission today presented its progress report, assessing Turkey's progress towards EU accession. While the Greens share some of the concerns raised about media freedom, the Kurdish question and relations with Cyprus, there is a greater overriding concern with the standstill in EU-Turkey relations and the prospects of Turkish EU membership. Commenting on the report, Green MEP and chair of the European Parliament's Turkey delegation Hélène Flautre stated:

"While the Commission is going through the motions with its progress report on Turkey, clearly the overriding concern should be standstill in EU-Turkey relations and the fact that the accession process has all but ground to a halt.

"The Commission shares the parliament's concerns in raising the alarm about restrictions on media freedom in Turkey, with journalists facing harassment and threat of imprisonment. Freedom of expression is a core democratic right and it is regrettable that Turkey is falling back in this area. The failure to deliver on the greater rights promised to the Kurdish minority is also a cause for concern and the Turkish government should be encouraged to use more restraint and more constructively engage in political dialogue.

"However, the overriding issue is the stagnation of the membership negotiations. That the negotiating chapters on fundamental rights are being blocked at a time when Turkey is discussing constitutional and judicial reforms is wrongheaded. This is a real threat to the efforts being made in Turkey as regards democratic reform and the EU's ability to positively influence this.

"There is a core of EU member states (notably Germany, France and Cyprus) that wants to block Turkey's EU accession regardless of any 'progress' and, as a result, the EU is effectively no longer able to positively influence the reform process in Turkey. This is inimical to the long-term interests of the Europe."

Richard More O'Ferrall,

Press and media officer,

Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament

Mobile: +32-477-443842 - Ph. +32-22841669 (Brussels); +33-388174042 -


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