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On December 9, 2008, the General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAEC) of the European Union adopted its annual conclusions regarding the Enlargement Policy. In these conclusions which insist on the “fair and rigorous conditionality” and on the “reference criteria” taking into consideration the “essential issues relating to the Rule of law and good governance”, a whole chapter is dedicated to Turkey.<BR>
This chapter is more critical than ever before, and it appears as an ultimate warning sent to Ankara because of its lack of progress. Thus, while greeting “the active and constructive role played by Turkey through its diplomatic initiatives in the South Caucasus and in the Middle East” and while being satisfied “that a serious political crisis was able to be averted in the summer 2008”, the Council “is disappointed to note that over the year just passed Turkey has made only limited progress, particularly as regards political reforms”. According to the Council, “Turkey still have to make substantial efforts continued judicial reform, establishing an anti-corruption strategy, effective protection of citizens' rights, full implementation of the policy of zero tolerance of torture and ill-treatment, ensuring freedom of expression and of religion in law and in practice for all religious communities, respect for property rights, respect for and protection of minorities and strengthening of cultural rights, women's rights, children's rights and trade union rights, and the civilian authorities' control of the military”.<BR>
“This list of breaches is too long for a State which is in the negotiating process and which is supposed to have already fulfilled all of the political criteria” declared Hilda Tchoboian, the chairperson of the European Armenian Federation. “It betrays the Council’s opinion, expressed diplomatically, that the Turkish application is not credible”, continued Mrs Tchoboian.<BR>
Regarding the Cypriot question and the implicit recognition of Cyprus through implementation of the Additional Protocol, the Council “regrets Turkey has not yet fulfilled its obligation of full non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement and has not made progress towards normalisation of its relations with the Republic of Cyprus” and informs Ankara that “progress is now urgently awaited.”<BR>
“It is normal that the European Union can no longer tolerate that a candidate country occupies militarily a Member State and refuses to recognize it, even implicitly” added Mrs Tchoboian.<BR>
In addition, regarding the relations with Erevan, the Council “encourages the incipient rapprochement with Armenia”.<BR>
“A sincere rapprochement implies the end of the Turkish blockade of Armenia and the recognition of the Armenian genocide as demanded by the Turkish, Armenian and European civil societies” declared Hilda Tchoboian.<BR>
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