Turkey: Progress Report shows two faces of Turkey. Ria Oomen-Ruijten MEP
The 2012 Turkey Progress Report shows a Turkey with two distinct faces, according to Ria Oomen-Ruijten MEP, Rapporteur for the European Parliament on Turkey.
Ria Oomen-Ruijten said: "On the one hand, there is a progressive and reform-oriented Turkey where legislation regarding respect for women's rights and gender equality has improved and where progress has been made in the area of the judiciary and on the observance of International Human Rights Law. Moreover, progress has been made in legislative reforms with regard to public administration and there was further consolidation of civilian oversight over the security forces. Also positive steps were reported with regard to the new constitution and improvements were made with regard to cultural rights."
On the other hand, however, the Report also shows a different face of Turkey that seems to overshadow the reform-oriented, progressive face. Ria Oomen-Ruijten continued: "The Report also shows us a Turkey with increased violations of freedom of expression, where freedom of the media was further restricted in practice with widespread self-censorship and frequent website bans of disproportionate scope and duration. A Turkey with a culture of intolerance of minorities, where people professing their minority religion continue to be discriminated against. A Turkey where gender equality and combating violence against women, including honour killings and forced marriages, remain major challenges and where concerns persist over the rights of defence and lengthy pre-trial detention in cases like Ergenekon, Sledgehammer and the KCK trial. A Turkey where no progress has been made with regard to the Kurdish issue and that still has to fully implement the additional protocol and the Customs Union and a Turkey where the Parliament's ability to perform its key functions continues to be hampered by the persistent lack of dialogue and spirit of compromise among political parties."
Mrs Oomen-Ruijten said that it is first and foremost in the best interests of the Turkish citizens that the progressive and reform-oriented face of Turkey prevails in the coming years, but that the 2012 Progress Report did not give very many reasons for optimism. She continued: "It is therefore important that we, the European Parliament, give our full support to and enhance our cooperation with the reform-oriented movements in Turkish politics and Turkish society that strive for a modern and prosperous society, based on the rule of law, where individual and collective rights are recognised and protected."
With regards to the Cyprus issue, Ria Oomen-Ruijten suggested that a mediating role for the EU could be useful for breaking the current deadlock in the negotiations.
Notes to Editors:
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 271 Members and 3 Croatian Observer Members.