A delegation from the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) will hold talks today and tomorrow with Turkish officials concerning the state of Internet and media freedom as well as the constitution-making process.
The meetings are part of an official visit for European Parliament members to follow up on Turkey’s Progress Report released by the European Commission in October and is an “opportunity to speak directly to politicians, and learn about the issues in Turkey and it’s neighboring areas,” delegate Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament’s AFET and the Dutch political party Democrats 66, told the Hürriyet Daily News prior to her visit to Ankara.
The delegation’s two-day schedule includes a visit to Parliament today to meet with the government and representatives from opposition parties, with the meetings focusing on not only politics in general, but the reforms set to be brought to the Turkish Constitution.
A lunch meeting with U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Ricciardone on the same day will provide insight in the U.S. perspective on Turkey.
Tomorrow the delegation will meet with the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) to discuss the training of judges and prosecutors with regard to human rights and media freedom, the urgent reform of the Internet law, long pre-trial detention periods, and the system of promoting and assigning judges. The same issues will also be brought up with a separate meeting with Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin.
The delegation will then meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gül to discuss the country’s relations with the European Union and the new constitution. The Minister of Internal Affairs İdris Naim Şahin will also discuss the country’s fight against terror with the delegation.
The final round of meetings will be held with NGOs, minority groups and journalists to discuss specific issues such as women and minority rights, and media freedom.