Procedure : 2007/2596(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B6-0376/2007

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 24/10/2007 - 4
CRE 24/10/2007 - 4

Votes :

PV 24/10/2007 - 8.27
CRE 24/10/2007 - 8.27

Texts adopted :


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PE 396.011v01-00
to wind up the debate on statements by the Council and Commission
pursuant to Rule 103(2) of the Rules of Procedure
by Ria Oomen-Ruijten
on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
on EU-Turkey relations

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 accession(1),

–  having regard to its resolution of 28 September 2005 on the opening of negotiations with Turkey(2),

–  having regard to its resolution of 27 September 2006 on Turkey's progress towards accession(3),

–  having regard to its resolutions on the Commission's enlargement strategy papers(4),

–  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 Turkey(5),

–  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 accession 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 an open-ended process,

B.  whereas Turkey has committed itself to reforms, good neighbourly relations and progressive alignment with the EU, and whereas these efforts should be viewed as an opportunity for Turkey itself to modernise,

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 a wave of reforms introduced between 2002 and 2004, the pace of reforms in Turkey has slowed down; whereas on 17 April 2007 the Turkish Government adopted its 'Programme for Alignment with the EU Acquis 2007-2013', and whereas on 31 August 2007 the new Turkish Government presented its programme, which includes strengthening the economy, drafting a new constitution and accelerating the reforms needed to bring Turkey closer to the EU,

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 highlighted in this resolution; expects the Commission to fully utilise all appropriate means to efficiently support the reform process, reminding Turkey that honouring its commitments within the timetable set by the Accession Partnership is of paramount importance to its credibility;

2.  Congratulates Turkey on 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 the election of a Turkish Grand National Assembly in which all the regions are represented and in which the participation of women has increased, and encourages the newly elected deputies to commit themselves to further strengthening democracy in Turkey;

3.  Welcomes the election of the new President as a sign of the strength of Turkish democracy; calls upon President Abdullah Gül to promote pluralism and the unity of the Turkish people in a secular state on its way to difficult but necessary reforms;

4.  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 and with Turkish civil society on constitutional and institutional matters; recalls that the development of Turkey into a democratic and prosperous state governed by the rule of law together with the uniform application of legal norms are of strategic importance for Turkey, its society and the EU; welcomes in this respect the commitment of the new government to enhance the reform process in the coming months and years;

5.  Welcomes the intention of the new Turkish Government to adopt a new and civilian constitution which will protect fundamental human rights and freedoms; underlines the need to ensure that the new constitution establishes a system of checks and balances guaranteeing the democratic and secular character of the Turkish state; calls on all parties to support an open and consensual constitutional process; recalls in this context its earlier recommendation on the electoral threshold; stresses that constitutional plans should not postpone urgently needed reforms, especially on Article 301 of the Penal Code;

6.  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;

7.  Welcomes the efforts made by the Turkish Government to align itself with the EU energy acquis and supports the opening of negotiations on the energy chapter as soon as technical preparations are completed; encourages Turkey to join, as a full member, the European Energy Community, thus to further strengthen 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; underlines the importance of Turkey as a transit hub for the diversification of gas supplies to the EU; emphasises that energy projects involving Turkey in the South Caucasus should be open to all countries of this region, which are part of the EU's neighbourhood policy;

8.  Notes that Turkey's geo-strategic position in the region and its 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;

9.  Is concerned about the repeated interference of the Turkish armed forces in the political process; stresses that further efforts are needed to ensure full and effective 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; calls moreover for parliamentary supervision over the country’s secret services, gendarmerie and police;

10.  Welcomes the EU-Turkey Civil Society Dialogue, and asks the Commission to report on the activities that have been carried out within this framework; underlines the importance of increased contacts between the civil societies in Turkey and the EU; calls on the Commission to provide targeted support to civil society, to be more present in different regions of Turkey, and in this context to pay particular attention to the south-east; calls on the new Turkish Government to involve its civil society, an important promoter of democracy in Turkey, more intensively in the reform process;

11.  Refers to its resolution of 2006 on Turkey, in particular those paragraphs on the reforms needed to improve the functioning of the judiciary and the combating of corruption, respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms, protection of women's rights, implementation of the zero-tolerance-to-torture policy as well as protection of minority, religious 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 in its forthcoming progress report;

12.  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;

13.  Deplores the fact that a number of people are still being prosecuted under Article 301 of the Penal Code, and urges the government and the newly elected parliament to make sure that all provisions of the Penal Code allowing for arbitrary restrictions on the expression of non-violent opinions are removed and that freedom of expression and freedom of press are guaranteed; regards this as a number-one priority for the new government;

14.  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 into line with principles of freedom of religion as defined by the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights; calls on the Commission to raise these issues with the new government; also invites the Commission to indicate how the Pre-Accession Instrument can be used for the protection of the Christian heritage;

15.  Strongly condemns the murder of Hrant Dink, the murder of the Christian priest Andrea Santoro, the murder of three Christians in Malatya, the terrorist attack in Ankara and all other acts of politically or religiously motivated violence; expects the Turkish authorities to fully investigate these cases and to bring all those 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 threats and discrimination;

16.  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;

17.  Welcomes the fact 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, equal treatment and economic empowerment of women are keys to further economic growth and prosperity in Turkey; regrets that violations of women's rights, and in particular so-called 'honour crimes', remain a matter of serious concern; urges the Commission, therefore, to stress to the new government the need to strengthen its efforts to eradicate violence and discriminatory practices against women, and stresses that these efforts should include, inter-alia, a sustained public campaign and provision of more shelters for women in distress;

18.  Points to the need for a comprehensive strategy for the socio-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;

19.  Is concerned about the consequences of the social, ecological, cultural and geopolitical problems of the Turkish South Anatolia Project, in which water barrage projects have a direct impact on the water supply of the neighbouring countries; calls on the Commission to closely monitor in its regular report the development of transboundary water cooperation in line with international conventions, nature and environmental protection directives and the Water Framework Directive(6);

20.  Urges the new government to launch a political initiative favouring a lasting settlement of the Kurdish issue, and to work, with the constructive involvement of the newly elected representatives in the TGNA, and the elected mayors and civil society in the South East, towards significant improvements in social, economic and cultural life; welcomes President Gül's initiative to visit the south-east of Turkey for the first time;

21.  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 and repeats its call on the PKK to declare and respect an immediate ceasefire; underlines the need to pursue the fight against terrorism proportionate to the threat and with full commitment towards international legal instruments and standards; stresses that there can never be an excuse for any kind of violence against civilians; appeals to the Turkish Government and to all political forces in Iraq - including Kurdish groups - to strengthen their cooperation in order to prevent and combat terrorist activities, and urges Turkey to refrain from any unilateral steps violating Iraq's territory;

22.  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 ends any economic blockade and border closure and refrains from threats or tension-prone military activities in relation to neighbouring countries; reiterates its call upon Turkey to engage in serious and intensive efforts for the resolution of outstanding disputes with all its neighbours, in accordance with the UN Charter and other relevant international conventions, and including a frank and open discussion on past events; reiterates its call upon the Turkish and Armenian Governments to start a process of reconciliation for the present and the past, and calls on the Commission to facilitate the Turkish-Armenian reconciliation while taking advantage of regional cooperation realised within the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Black Sea Synergy Policy;

23.  Regrets that no substantial progress has been made in reaching a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question; 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; in this regard, recalls its previous resolutions stating that the withdrawal of Turkish forces would facilitate the negotiation of a settlement;

24.  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 implementation and effectiveness of this instrument;

25.  Stresses the importance of Turkey's potential with regard to the Black Sea region, the South Caucasus and the Central Asian region in bringing stability, democratic governance, mutual confidence and prosperity to these regions, in particular through regional cooperation projects; stresses Turkey's role in the Middle East; calls upon the Commission to strengthen its cooperation with the Turkish Government concerning the EU's policy towards these regions;

26.  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;

27.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, and the Government and Parliament of Turkey.

(1) OJ C 226 E, 15.9.2005, p.189.
(2) OJ C227 E, 21.9.2006, p. 163.
(3) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0381.
(4) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0096. Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0568.
(5) OJ L 22, 26.1.2006, p.34.
(6) Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy (OJ L 327, 22.12.2000, p. 1).

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