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Turkey, Considering Human Rights and EU Accession Tim Eden-Calcott NCRE Roundtable seminar - 9 June 2006


A country where ‘torture is still a common practice cannot have a seat at the table of the European Union’ Jean-Claude Juncker, 1997


It has been argued that Turkey will not accede to the EU because it will never meet the “human rights requirements” of membership. Explain what exactly these rights are, and comment on some recent aspects of the debate. The question posed…


Limitations other conditions for membership are not considered not all forms of human rights issues in Turkey are addressed comparison with other states, and their accession path is limited


Time was running out for Turkey: Human rights emerged had as an issue that they could not avoid In history human rights issues to the EU, for external relations with other states, were not a priority The EU was not alone, the United Nations also were against the intervention into the affairs of other states With the closing period of the Cold War expectations started to change, good governance measures emerged Historical Context Of Human Rights In The EU


1987 was Turkey’s first application for candidate status – it was rejected 1997 application again rejected, but 11 other applicants were successful 1999 given candidate status, but deemed too early for accession talks Late 2000 an Accession Partnership Document was established for Turkey Finally in October 2005 Accession Negotiations began The Long Way Into Accession Negotiations


The Union is founded on the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law, principles which are common to the Member States Article 6 (1) Treaty of the European Union Issues considered further Prohibition of torture Freedom of expression & information Cultural, religious and linguistic freedom


Torture And Efforts To See It Eradicated Human Rights Watch reported: In the mid 1990’s torture was considered a routine practice, also death squad style killings were often reported (with 423 in 1994 alone) By 2005 they stated the biggest success for the year was sustained efforts against torture BUT… EU 2005 Enlargement Strategy Paper in November 2005 highlighted concerns Implementation of reforms can be patchy


Freedom Of Speech: Changes A Must Mid 1995 people were repressed, faced censorship, torture, and even imprisonment for the practice of free speech Improvements are evident but still problems exist In 2004, Amnesty International reported a high number of complaints, with excessive force at demonstrations. People were even reported as ‘being beaten and sprayed with pepper gas even after they had been apprehended Even recently Orhan Pamuk faced charges of insulting ‘Turkishness’


The Case Of The Kurds Language, cultural, and minority rights Kurdish leaders have been jailed, killed, and disappeared Language rights were banned EU has made it clear action is needed 2004 saw many reforms come through Now, language bans mainly lifted Freedoms exist but still room for more


The Likelihood Of Accession Turkey’s efforts so far show promise to continual change Implementation of reforms is a problem that would need to be addressed EU has not stepped down its criticisms, and is still a driving force in promoting reform within Turkey It would take time and is in Turkey’s hands in regards to fulfilling human rights expectations

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