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13 09 2007 - "We are working with all the democratic forces in the European Parliament to ensure that this resolution
BRUSSEL, BELGIUM – The European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) is mobilizing Armenians from throughout Europe to seek to reverse a series of serious shortcomings in a draft resolution on Turkey, prepared by Mrs. Oomen-Ruijten (Conservative, Netherlands), for the consideration of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Committee is set to examine the Oomen-Ruijten resolution on Thursday 13 September (see draft here above). Her measure congratulates Turkey for its past progress and outlines a number of areas in which it has not met European standards. The European Armenian Federation, having reviewed the resolution, has found that it represents a retreat from the 2006 Eurlings report and, in light of it unbalanced presentation of the facts, a clear step back from the more principled positions adopted in reports adopted by the Parliament since 2000.

"We are working with all the democratic forces in the European Parliament to ensure that this resolution will accurately identify Turkey’s failure to meet its own commitments to the European family of nations,” said Hilda Tchoboian, the Chairperson of the European Armenian Federation.
"It is, quite simply, unacceptable for the European Parliament to allow the authors of this flawed measure to seek to minimize, cover-up, or even entirely exclude from their report such vital and pressing issues as the Armenian Genocide, Kurdish rights, and the occupation of Cyprus,” added Tchoboian. “As this matter is taken up in Committee, we call upon our constituent members, friends, and allies across Europe to continue educating their Members of the European Parliament, and other European leaders, about the dangers of passing such an unbalanced resolution.”
The European Armenian Federation is calling upon the leaders of Armenian groups across the continent to coordinate with it the mobilization of the Armenian community.
Draft European Parliament resolution on EU-Turkey relations
The European Parliament,
– having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2004 on the 2004 regular report and the recommendation of the Commission on Turkey's progress towards accession1,
– having regard to its resolution of 28 September 2005 on the opening of negotiations with Turkey2,
– having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2006 on Turkey's progress towards accession3, having regard to its resolutions on the Commission's enlargement strategy papers4,
– having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,
– having regard to Council Decision 2006/35/EC of 23 January 2006 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with Turkey5,
– having regard to the Turkey 2006 Progress Report of the Commission (SEC(2006)1390),
– having regard to the Commission Communication on the Enlargement strategy and Main Challenges 2006-2007 (COM(2006) 649),
– having regard to Rule 103 (2) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas negotiations with Turkey were opened on 3 October 2005 after approval by the Council of the Negotiating Framework, and whereas the opening of these negotiations is the starting point for a long-lasting and open-ended process,
B. whereas Turkey has committed itself to reforms, good neighbourly relations and progressive alignment with the EU,
C. whereas full compliance with all the Copenhagen criteria remains the basis for accession to the EU,
D. whereas Turkey has not yet fully implemented the provisions stemming from the Association Agreement and its Additional Protocol,
E. whereas after an impressive wave of reforms introduced between 2002 and 2004, the pace of reforms in Turkey has slowed down,
F. whereas a programme for further reforms will have to be presented by the new Government after early parliamentary elections were held on 22 July,
1. Calls on the Commission to identify in its regular report those subjects which have to be addressed by Turkey as a matter of priority, focusing on the achievement of the short-term and medium-term priorities set out in the Accession Partnership, and to pay particular attention to the subjects pointed out in this resolution; expects the Commission to fully utilise all appropriate means to efficiently support the reform process, reminding Turkey that the respect of its commitments within the timetable set by the Accession Partnership is of paramount importance for its credibility;
2. Congratulates Turkey for having held free and fair elections, as indicated by the Election Assessment Mission deployed by the OSCE/ODIHR and a delegation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE); welcomes that the elections led to a better representativity of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and encourages the newly elected deputies to engage themselves for the transformation of Turkey into a stable democracy;
3. Expects the new Turkish Government, which benefits from a strong mandate and popular trust, to accelerate the process of reforms in order to fulfil the commitments defined in the Accession Partnership; encourages the government to search for a broad consensus within the Turkish parliament on important institutional matters; recalls that the development of Turkey into a democratic and prosperous state governed by the rule of law is of strategic importance for Turkey, its society and the EU;
4. Welcomes the positive economic development of Turkey in recent years, considers it however vital to increase employment and to develop a reform strategy which will reinforce the social cohesion of the Turkish society;
5. Welcomes the efforts made by the Turkish government to align itself with the EU energy acquis; advocates further strengthening of energy cooperation between the EU and
Turkey, aimed at reinforcing the energy supply security, supporting the use of renewable energy resources and the investments in energy efficiency;
6. Notes that Turkey's role in transportation and logistics will become more important in the coming years; calls on the Commission to issue a specific report on the latest developments and future challenges;
7. Is concerned about the repeated interference of the Turkish Armed Forces in the political process; stresses that further efforts are needed to ensure full civilian control over the military; underlines that the formulation of the national security strategy and its implementation should be supervised by the civilian authorities; calls for the establishment of full parliamentary oversight of military and defence policy and all related expenditure;
8. Welcomes the EU-Turkey Civil Society Dialogue, and asks the Commission to report on of increased contacts between the civil societies in Turkey and the EU; calls on the Commission to be more present in different regions of Turkey and to provide targeted
support to the civil society; calls on the new Turkish government to involve its civil society, an important promoter of democracy in Turkey, more intensively into the reform process;
9. Refers to its resolution of 2006 on Turkey, in particular those paragraphs on the reforms needed to improve the functioning of judiciary, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, protection of women rights, implementation of the zero-tolerance-to-torture policy as well as protection of minority and cultural rights; awaits, before assessing the progress in implementing such reforms, the results of the intensified monitoring of the political criteria announced by the Commission in its last enlargement strategy; calls on the Commission to publish these results without delay;
10. Urges the new Turkish government to fully implement the provisions stemming from the Association agreement and its Additional Protocol; recalls that the non-fulfilment of Turkey's commitments referred to in the Accession Partnership will continue to affect seriously the process of negotiations;
11. Deplores that a number of persons is still being prosecuted under Article 301 of the Penal Code, and urges the government to use its parliamentary majority to make sure that provisions allowing for arbitrary restrictions on the expression of non-violent opinions are removed and that freedom of expression and freedom of press are guaranteed;
12. Stresses the need to adopt a Law on Foundations without delay that addresses the current legal uncertainty of religious minorities and sets a clear legal framework enabling them to exercise their religion freely by allowing them, inter alia, to own property and train clergy; shares the concern expressed by the Council on 24 July over the recent ruling of the Turkish Court of Cassation on the Ecumenical Patriarchate; urges the new Turkish government to bring its approach towards religious minorities in line with principles of freedom of religion; calls on the Commission to raise these issues with the new government;

13. Strongly condemns the murder of Hrant Dink, the murder of three Christians in Malatya, the terrorist attack in Ankara, and all other acts of politically motivated violence; expects the Turkish authorities to bring full light into these cases and to bring all responsible to justice; underlines the urgent need to efficiently combat all types of extremism and violence and to ban them from all levels of public life in Turkey; calls on the Turkish government to increase the protection of those groups, minorities or individuals who feel exposed to threat;
14. Calls on the new government to take concrete measures to ensure that full trade union rights are respected in line with European and ILO standards;
encourages it to support intensification of the social dialogue between employers associations and trade unions; asks the Commission to address this subject with the new government;
15. Notes that a considerable number of women in Turkey hold strong positions in the economy and in the academic world, and that more women have been elected in parliament;
underlines that accessibility of education for and economic empowerment of women are keys to further economic growth and prosperity of Turkey;

16. Points out to the need of a comprehensive strategy for the social-economic development of the South East of Turkey; calls on the Commission to indicate in which way the Pre- Accession Instrument can be used to support efforts that will have to be made by the new Turkish government to develop the South East, and to coordinate this assistance with other international financial institutions;
17. Strongly condemns the violence perpetrated by the PKK and other terrorist groups on Turkish soil; expresses its solidarity with Turkey in its fight against terrorism; urges Turkey however to refrain from any unilateral steps violating Iraq's territory;
18. Attaches great importance to Turkey's commitment to good neighbourly relations in line with the requirements set out in the Negotiating Framework; reiterates its expectation that Turkey refrains from any economic blockade, border closure, threats or tension-prone military activities against neighbouring countries; reiterates its call upon the Turkish and the Armenian Government to start a process of reconciliation;

19. Regrets that no substantial progress in finding a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question has been made; reiterates its call on both parties to adopt a constructive attitude for a comprehensive settlement within the UN framework, based on the principles upon which the EU is founded;
20. Welcomes the establishment of an instrument of financial support to encourage the economic development of the Turkish Cypriot community; calls on the Commission to report specifically on the effectiveness of this instrument;
21. Stresses the importance of Turkey's role in the Black Sea region and of its close relations with the Central Asian region; calls upon the Commission to strengthen its cooperation with the Turkish government concerning the EU's policy towards these regions;
22. Reminds the Commission of its request to deliver a follow-up to the impact study presented in 2004 and asks to be provided with it in 2007;
23. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Government and the Parliament of Turkey.
for Justice and Democracy
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For immediate release
11 September 2007
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