EU report calls for a democratic charter
BRUSSELS - Anatolia News Agency
EU Commissioner Füle tells the Parliament to remove the emphasis on the secularity of Turkish army from the report. AA photoThe European Parliament has approved Turkey’s draft progress report with a majority of votes, after removing the emphasis on the “secularist role of army” following criticism on this article.
The removed section emphasized the “need to guarantee the operational capacity and secular integrity of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for the significance of Turkey’s membership to NATO.” The EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle had earlier warned that the emphasis on the secularity of the Turkish army could be misunderstood and he wanted it to be removed.
Füle has also called on Turkey to continue drafting a new constitution with the largest participation possible through a democratic process, welcoming the consensus in the Turkish public on the need for a new constitution, while speaking at the European Parliament on March 28. He also said that the accession talks would continue to strengthen democracy in Turkey.
Rapporteur calls on BDP to cut ties with the PKK
The report, prepared by rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten, calls on Turkey to not “miss the unique opportunity for real constitutional reform,” emphasizing the need for a civilian constitution. Oomen-Ruijten has also called on Turkey’s Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) to cut all ties with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Oomen-Ruijten said she strongly condemns the violent acts of the PKK, speaking at a press conference yesterday. “If I may give some advice to the members of the BDP, it would be to cut off all ties with the PKK. I would be pleased by that.” She also said the EU should have the courage to open the relevant chapters, if it is criticizing Turkey on fundamental rights and freedoms. The non-binding report reinforces its call for Turkey to recognize all ethnic groups and secure mother tongue rights within that scope. According to the report, the new constitution should strengthen democracy, the supremacy of law, basic rights and freedoms, pluralism, good-governance, transparency and the integrity of Turkish society.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that as soon as the report is approved a reciprocal effort will be needed to sustain the benefits of “mutual commitment.” “The EU should reflect on the politically motivated blockage of negotiations on chapters ’23. Judiciary and Fundamental Rights’ and ’24. Justice, Freedom and Security,’ which are closely related to ‘fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria.’” Advancing Turkey-EU cooperation yields important gains for a vast geography, the ministry said. The report welcomes efforts to strengthen civil supervision on the army and calls on Turkey to fully open military expenses to judicial control, and to include the TSK in civil jurisdiction. It also condemns attacks by the PKK on the Zaman newspaper’s offices in Europe, and calls for an investigation.