13 March 2014 11:19

Cyprus' six MEPs yesterday voted against a European Parliament report on Turkey, disagreeing with its recommendation to open the three frozen chapters in Ankara's EU accession talks.
Approved by 475 votes to 153, with 43 abstentions, the resolution welcomed the joint declaration by the leaders of the two communities on Cyprus on re-launching the reunification talks and asked Turkey to actively support these negotiations for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement.
It also called for the withdrawal of Turkish troops and the return of Famagusta, but urged direct trade between the Turkish held north and the EU.
MEPs expressed deep concern at recent allegations of high-level corruption in Turkey and stressed that constitutional reform must remain the top priority for its modernisation and democratisation.
In their assessment of Turkey's 2013 progress report, they also said its negotiations with the EU must continue to provide a clear framework for Turkey's reforms.
The resolution regrets the removal of the prosecutors and police officers in charge of the original high-level corruption investigations, stressing that this goes against the fundamental principle of an independent judiciary. An impartial and independent judiciary is vital to a truly democratic state, MEPs say.
"Turkey has embarked on reform for the benefit of its own citizens. Recent developments in the area of fundamental freedoms, independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression and others are however a cause of grave concern for us.
"We now need a serious, constructive dialogue with Turkey on these subjects and Turkey needs to show true commitment to its European aspirations and to the values upon which the EU is founded," said rapporteur on Turkey Ria Oomen-Ruijten (EPP, NL).
MEPs point out that a draft law on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors and a draft internet law, which are seen as restricting fundamental freedoms, take Turkey away from meeting the Copenhagen criteria for EU accession.


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