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Ομιλία στην Κωνσταντινούπολη στην παρουσίαση του Βιβλίου Eurodialogue:Turkey on the European Doostep
Ημερομηνία: 11-05-2012

Turkey is a state with a huge historical background.

Since Kemal Ataturk successfully founded a modern political system, all the politicians who subsequently came to power have followed a Western policy. With the aim of pushing Turkey toward the European family.

Today, the country is on the European doorstep, and it mainly depends upon Turkey's own policy whether it will become a full member state or not.

We, the Europeans, believe in the Turkish accession to the EU.

Turkey must similarly believe in the values of the EU in order to meet the criteria required by the European Council and the Intergovernmental Conference, as far as the “testing procedure” is concerned.

 This legal and political framework is designed to assist Turkey, to smoothly join the EU and thereby avoid problems which are pertinent to the EU and Turkish cohesion.

 We want the game to be a win - win situation. 

For the time being the Turkish accession to the EU is at a deadlock. Therefore we have the obligation and duty to find a way out, in order to facilitate the procedure.

 However, the situation has become more complicated for the following reasons:

1.Turkey refuses to continue its accession negotiations with the Cyprus Presidency. So, Turkey will be freezing its European course for the next six months.

 It is obvious that Turkey is losing time. Turkey should accept that Cyprus is a fully-fledged member state of the EU. It should respect all the Institutional Procedures and Conventions of the EU.

Thus it is irrelevant which State is at the Presidency seat.

2. Turkey should respect the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. It should stop hindering the efforts by Cyprus to exploit the Hydrocarbon reserves within its Exclusive Economic Zone. These efforts are in line with the international law of the Sea which is an integral part of European law and the aquis communautaire.

The sooner Turkey signs and implements the Treaty of the international law of the sea,the sooner it will be able to join the EU.

 3. Turkey will also have to catalytically contribute to the solution of all eminent and destabilizing issues with its neighbor countries. On the basis of mutual respect and in line with international law.

We have the intention to support the lift of all obstacles of the eight blocked accession chapters, if Turkey ceases its stubborn attitude and implements the additional protocol and improves its relations with the Republic of Cyprus in accordance with the conclusions of the European Council and the relevant reports issued by the European Commission and the European Parliament.

I always have the best intentions for Turkey´s accession and I wish to share my views with you concerning the desperate need for improving the relations between Cyprus and Turkey and to promote stability in our region.

To establish a climate of friendship, solidarity, mutual respect and collaboration.

We must therefore be sincere and not hide behind one's finger, if we want to build a concrete and reliable relationship between Turkey and the EU and if we want the existing accession negotiations to come to a fruitful end.

I must admit that it would be a great omission if I did not mention all the positive steps taken by the Turkish government regarding the modernization and the democratization of the country.

This is particularly eminent through the economic growth and we wish to see Turkey continue on this positive track. 

Important steps have already been taken regarding the fundamental topic of human rights,but more should be done in the sectors of the fight against corruption and the respect for human dignity.

Religious freedom must be put in full practice and all the minorities living in Turkey must be free to exercise their rights within a multicultural Turkish state.

We must learn to respect the differences and diversities of others. This is a role model for social cohesion of civilized societies. This is why the EU retains its unity, despite the problems that it faces as a result of the economic and social crisis.

There is a list of matters – chapters in fact- of which Turkey should meet the criteria required by the EU. These are the technical conditions that Turkey must fulfill in order to open and close the 35 accession chapters and thus taking the ticket for full membership.  In accordance with the relevant reports issued by the European Parliament and the Progress Report issued by the European Commission, Turkey must speed up its reforms.

On the other hand it is the responsibility of the EU to provide Turkey with a positive agenda. To send positive messages for further steps which will help Turkey make the breakthrough.

Turkey should start from the least costly measures such as the opening of the Theological School of Halki and the respect for religious and minority rights. Turkey should restore children's and women's rights, and give way to the freedom of speech and the press,

 Which is of outmost importance for a democratic political system to function effectively.

Progress has already been done in the sector of the judiciary and the relations between the army on the one hand and the political system and the civil society on the other. However, there are many measures which remain to be taken in order to meet the EU standards.

The detention conditions of people who are under arrest should be improved whilst the long timeframes for trial procedures should be shortened dramatically.

The human rights of the political and other detainees must be fully complied with.

Indictments and prosecutions against Journalists and intellectuals, authors and academics who criticize the Turkish government have no place in a democracy.

Turkey needs to improve its Rule of Law. It should establish a new constitutional order that includes all these democratic reforms; These reforms should be done not for the sake of the EU and the Europeans, but for the sake of Turkey and its citizens.

Turkey can only benefit from successfully addressing these issues. These reforms can easily minimize the objections of the European countries in which xenophobia is a dominant factor of their policy-making.

 It is well known that certain countries who do not want Turkey in the EU were hiding behind Greece and now the same stands for Cyprus.

What I suggest is that we must solve the Cyprus issue on a fair basis starting with the withdrawal of Turkish troops. I believe this would be the first step which will gradually remove the obstacles in the accession pathway to the EU.

 I come to Istanbul quite often and I am always a sincere and honest representative of the European Parliament.

The European Parliament is the only EU institution, whose members are democratically elected by the European citizens.

As a Cypriot MEP, as a human being and humanitarian activist, as an intellectual and academic who has learned to respect the system of values and principles of all human beings,

I want to see Turkey dramatically changing and joining the European family as a full member state. I believe in the Turkish democratization and I know that the EU is a Democratic Procedure in Progress, and we, the European Citizens are responsible to speed up this progress.

Thus we need to tackle various problems such as the democratic deficit, bringing the European institutions closer together and bridging the gap between the governors and those governed, the EU citizens.

We do not want to export democracy, but to transfer the knowledge of its best practices so as to help improve societies.

My position is clear and I strongly believe that this context will be beneficial for all parties.

I repeat, should we consider the unresolved Cyprus issue as an obstacle of the Turkish accession to the EU, then we have to proceed to a fair democratic and European solution to the Cyprus issue.

Without foreign troops. Without the interference of guarantors, With no derogations and with full respect to human rights and the acquis communautaire.

Then a democratic and European Turkey will stem from such a solution. This is not only a small step, but a great political and legal leap toward the Turkish accession to the EU.

We want to see our region living in stability, peace and prosperity and Cyprus as a “role model” of peaceful coexistence of civilizations and people of different religions under the guaranties of the European Laws, values and principles.

We do our best for our Turkish Cypriot compatriots and it is well known that they are European citizens under the political, legal and institutional umbrella of the Republic of Cyprus which constitutes a full EU member.

Turkey is an important country for us, Cypriots, as we need the solidarity of Turkey.

Our aim is to support the Turkish accession to the EU.

 This is the second meeting we co-organize with Turkish colleagues, academics and friends.

  The first one took place a year ago in Brussels. The outcome of that meeting was a new journal - entitled, "Turkey on the European Doorstep" - prefaced by Commissioner Stephan Fule, who supports such efforts towards the establishment of a common language and a political code of understanding.

 We endeavour progress, stability, peace and de-militarization of the region, that can result in a good neighbourhoud policy.

 

 
 
 
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