2015 Turkey Progress Report finally published by the EU

After much controversy during the last several weeks in which the EU, and British Prime Minister David Cameron, were accused of delaying the publication of their annual Progress Report for Turkey’s EU accession process so that deals could be made over the refugee crisis, the report has finally been made public.

The report makes sharp criticisms of Turkey for ‘backsliding’ in respect to fundamental rights and the rule of law, in particular freedom of press, expression and assembly. It also calls for an immediate resumption of the peace process following a serious deterioration of its security situation.

You can download the report in full here (pdf): Turkey Progress Report 2015

EUTCC announces next conference, 10 – 11 December

Press Release: For immediate release

4 December, 2014

11th INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EU, TURKEY MIDDLE EAST AND THE KURDS

“CHAOS AND CRISIS IN THE MIDDLE EAST: NEW REGIONAL ORDER AND THE KURDS”

To be held at the European Parliament, Brussels, 10 -11 December 2014. The full programme can be downloaded here.

Please note that all Conference’s sessions will be webstreamed in internet, these are the links which you can use to follow the Conference: 

(Wednesday 10th December 2014, 15.00-18.30)
http://eventstream.streamovations.be/european-union-turkey-middle-east-kurds-10-dec.php
(Languages available: Turkish, English, French and German)

(Thursday 11th December 2014, 09.30-13.00 and 15.00-18.30)
http://eventstream.streamovations.be/european-union-turkey-middle-east-kurds-11-dec.php
(Languages available: Turkish, English, French and German)

 

Since 2004 the EUTCC has held an annual conference in the European Parliament. One of its most important tasks is to monitor Turkish compliance with the EU accession criteria. EUTCC wishes to contribute to the progress of Turkish membership of the EU by spreading accurate, objective information both in Turkey and Europe about the progress made by Turkey, but also about any shortcomings which may still persist. Continue reading

EP publishes resolution on the 2013 EU-Turkey Progress Report

The European Parliament has published a resolution in response to the European Commission’s 2013 Progress Report for Turkey’s Europe accession process.

The resolution expresses ‘concern’ about corruption scandals in the Turkish government and judiciary, the excessive use of police fore against anti-government protesters last June, and about poor levels of freedom of expression and media pluralism that do not reach ‘European standards’.

On the Kurdish conflict, the resolution supports what it calls the “government’s initiative of striving for a settlement with the PKK, with the aim of putting a definitive end to the PKK’s terrorist activities”. It “welcomes the fact that education in Kurdish is now allowed in private schools and encourages the government to put in place the necessary reforms aimed at promoting the social, cultural, and economic rights of the Kurdish community”. It goes on to briefly acknowledge there are still “several” Kurdish politicians, mayors, local councillors, unionists, lawyers and human rights defenders who have been arrested as part of the KCK trials, but does not acknowledge they are political prisoners  and makes no recommendation that they should be released.

You can download the resolution here.

EC publishes 2013 Turkey progress report

The European Commission has published the 2013 progress report for Turkey’s accession process. The key findings are below, and the full report can be downloaded here (pdf): Turkey 2013 Progess Report

 

European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 16 October 2013

Key findings of the 2013 progress report on Turkey

The Commission’s 2013 Progress Report on Turkey highlights a number of important steps taken by Turkey over the past 12 months, notably the adoption of a fourth judicial reform package and the start of a peace process to end terrorism and violence in the Southeast of the country. At the same time, the report emphasises the pressing need to develop a truly participatory democracy, able to reach out to all segments of society, as well as the clear requirement to further amend criminal legislation and reform its interpretation by the courts so as to ensure respect for fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. These issues underline the importance for the EU to enhance its engagement with Turkey, especially on fundamental rights, so that it remains the benchmark for reforms in the country.

Continue reading

Papers from the 9th International EUTCC Conference

Several conference papers from last week’s EUTCC Conference, entitled The Kurdish Question in Turkey: Time to Renew the Dialogue and Resume Direct Negotiations, have been made available in English. The final resolution of the conference is also available, and you can download the opening speech by Kurdish MP Leyla Zana(pdf) and Dutch academic Joost Jongeden’s paper, Rethinking Politics and Democracy in the Middle East(pdf).

Dr Sabine Freizer, Europe Program Director for the International Crisis Group

“Negotiating peace: Requirements for a political resolution and the Road Maps to Peace in Turkey”

INTRODUCTION

Thank you very much chair for inviting me to speak to you today and to present the recommendations that the International Crisis Group has developed to alleviate the Kurdish problem and help the Kurdish movement and the Turkish government reach a political settlement.

Just a few words on Crisis Group. We were created in 1995 during the wars in the Western Balkans when several international policy makers felt that an organization that could give practical recommendations, based on field research, to alleviate and solve deadly conflict was needed. The head of our organization is Justice Louise Arbour, former UN High Commission on HR and Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. We work in about 65 conflicts around the work with some 150 staff. Our main advantage over other organizations is our field presence with about 30 offices around the world. Personally I cover the Europe program (the Balkans, Turkey and the Caucasus, North and South) and am based out of Istanbul, where I work with two other colleagues, Hugh Pope and Didem Akyel. Our only product is our reports – we don’t do any of our own activities, like organizing conferences or providing aid.

Continue reading

EUTCC resolution calls for restart of direct negotiations

The EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) held its 9th International Conference last week In Brussels, with politicians, academics, NGO workers and political activists from Kurdistan, Europe and across the world gathering for two days of discussion. The final resolution, which is reproduced below in full, reflected the main focus of the conference this year by calling for direct negotiations to resume between the Turkish government and the PKK. This echoes the call made made Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Despond Tutu at the recent launch of the International Peace Initiative (IPI). A special resolution was also passed calling for the release of Kurdish politician Adem Uzun from French custody, which is also below.

Prominent MP and Rafto Prize Laureate Ms Leyla Zana opened the conference, and a copy of her speech in English is opening speech (pdf). Also available is Dutch academic Joost Jongerden’s conference paper entitled Rethinking Politics and Democracy in the Middle East (pdf).

FINAL RESOLUTION OF THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL EUTCC CONFERENCE, BRUSSELSTHE KURDISH QUESTION IN TURKEY: TIME TO RENEW THE DIALOGUE AND RESUME DIRECT NEGOTIATIONS

The 9th Annual EUTCC International Conference met on 5-6 December 2012 at the European Parliament in Brussels. All of the presentations elaborated on the findings of the European Commission’s most recent (2012) Progress Report on Turkey’s EU accession process that unfortunately: “The Kurdish issue and . . . the 2009 democratic opening aimed at addressing amongst others the Kurdish issue were not followed through. . . .  Overall, there was no progress towards a solution as regards the Kurdish issue.” Continue reading

Set journalists free in Turkey: EFJ Campaign update

Here is the latest news update from the Set journalists free in Turkey campaign, organised by the European Federation of Journalists:

  • (18 Oct 2012) No let-up in judicial harassment of journalists since July reform
    Despite Law 6325’s adoption in July, the media continue to be the target of constant judicial harassment, in which the KCK and Ergenekon trials are just the most visible cases. full report link
  • (18 Oct 2012) Ankara Under Fire for Journalists’ Treatment
    The European Union has strongly criticized Turkey for its record on media freedom in its annual report on the progress of prospective EU members. The EU says “increasing concerns” about court cases against reporters endanger Turkey’s bid for membership. The rights group International Federation of Journalists reports there are around 75 journalists currently jailed in Turkey, mainly because of how they covered issues deemed by the government to be controversial. full report link
    Continue reading

EC publishes 2012 Progress Report on Turkey

The European Commission has published its 2012 progress report on Turkey, the key finding from which you can read a summary of below. It is particularly critical of Turkey’s lack of respect for fundamental rights and there are continued concerns over the unnecessarily broad terrorism laws in the country.

You can download a pdf of the full report here: Turkey Progress Report 2012

Continue reading

Turkey 2011 Progress Report debated in EP

The European Parliament recently published the Resolution on Turkey’s 2011 Progress Report regarding Turkey’s bid for EU membership. The draft report, written by the EP’s Turkey rapporteur, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, was discussed at a plenary on the 28-29 March, and a summary of that debate has been released. We reproduce it here for you to read comments from representative from round Europe on the issue: Continue reading

EU publishes draft 2011 Progress Report on Turkey

The European Parliament has published a draft of the 2011 Progress report on Turkey, prepared by the Foreign Affairs Committee of the E.P. The report will be discussed in a plenary on 28 March, and then finally adopted on Thursday 29 March, but we have made the draft available for download for you to look at.

The EU Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) has already responded to the report in a short statement:

EUTCC NOTES WITH APPROVAL NEW EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DRAFT REPORT ON TURKEY

10 March 2012

The EUTCC notes with approval the EU Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Resolution on the 2011 Progress Report on Turkey and hopes that it will contribute to Turkey solving its internal problems in a democratic and peaceful manner. Continue reading