Break off talks if Turkey reneges on promises

5 October 2005

Break off talks if Turkey reneges on promises

“Negotiations between the EU and Turkey should be broken off immediately if Turkey fails to hold to ongoing agreements,” says SP Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel. Mr Van Bommel was responsing to the decision of the EU summit in Luxembourg to begin accession negotiations with the country. In a few months we will see the first litmus test, as Turkey must by then have withdrawn ships and aeroplanes from Cyprus. “If that doesn't happen, the SP will demand that negotiations be halted,” Van Bommel says.

Developments over the last few years would appear to indicate that Turkey is inclined to give way to pressure from the EU, but only at the last minute. “Pressure is necessary, as can be seen in every instance,” Harry van Bommel argues. In the negotiations to take place over the coming ten years Turkey must adhere fully to human rights criteria, and these negotiations should be broken off if the Turkish government does not force through the necessary changes. For Van Bommel, important touchstones would be the rapid improvement of human rights norms, respect for the Ankara Protocol, which governs relations with Cyprus, and an open attitude towards the Armenian question, that's to say to events taking place in 1915 under the Ottoman empire, the Turkish republic's forerunner.

“We support democratic parties and movements in Turkey. These would be the biggest benificiaries of the introduction of freedoms more characteristic of Europe. Turkey must completely fulfill human rights criteria. As long as she does not do so, Turkey should not be allowed to join the EU. Especially important is the position of the Kurds. They are the biggest supporters of EU membership, but have in the context of current relations with Turkey gained nothing from their democratic convictions. That must change.”

The SP will be putting these and other aspects of the negotiations with Turkey on the agenda of the State of the European Union parliamentary debate scheduled for 8 November.

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