Euro speaker links Kurdish autonomy to EU accession
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Schulz recommends the creation of a Kurdish autonomous region in Turkey. AFP photoThe president of the European Parliament has linked the resolution of Turkey’s Kurdish issue to its eventual accession to membership in the European Union.
“My advice is given in the framework Turkey’s of pre-EU accession strategy: We must try to convince both sides that it is possible [to create something] between a sovereign state and [a region] with a high degree of autonomy while [maintaining] the … territorial integrity of the country. That is my humble advice,” Martin Schulz, European Parliament president, said yesterday in Istanbul. Schulz was speaking at a ceremony at Bilgi University at which he was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Kurdish problem is Turkey’s domestic issue
The Kurdish problem is a domestic problem for Turkey, Schulz said, but added that the European Union is concerned about the rights and recognition of minorities in its member countries.
Schulz said he was confronted with the Kurdish problem when he was a socialist mayor in Germany. “In the early 80s I had a lot of refugees in my city coming from Kurdistan, and I was immediately confronted with the problems that I had in my city, where among the citizens of Turkish origin, half considered themselves Kurds and the other half Turks. This was my reality. And the first part of my answer to you is that there is a Kurdish problem.” Schulz also mentioned the success of northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). “You know that the northern part of Iraq has an autonomous Kurdish government. Mr. [Masoud] Barzani [president of the KRG] is a regional leader, being of Kurdish origin, and considers himself a Kurdish leader. This is not a problem … for Turkey, and it is not a problem for us or for Iraq.”
Bağış rejects ‘reform fatigue’
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
EU Minister Egemen Bağış yesterday rejected criticism from European Parliament Speaker Martin Schulz that Ankara has been hit by “reform fatigue,” arguing that the European Union itself is worn down. “There is no fatigue in Turkey concerning reforms. Turkey has not stopped working despite the fact that new chapters are not being opened in the membership negotiations,” Bağış said, speaking at a seminar on preventing fraud in EU-funded projects. In an interview with Germany’s Der Tagesspiegel newspaper this week, Schulz had said that Ankara was suffering from “reform fatigue,” while the EU was hit by “enlargement fatigue.” Bağış said that the country was seeking to make contributions to Europe under the motto “Hang on, Europe! Turkey will come to help you.”