|European Commission Publishes Turkey Progress Report|
KHRP welcomes the publication of the European Commission’s latest annual report on Turkey’s progress towards accession to the European Union, which confirms the failure of the Turkish authorities to press ahead with earlier human rights reforms.
In almost every area of concern from the point of view of human rights, the Turkey 2008 Progress Report underlines that there has been limited or no improvement in the period covered. Even where mechanisms exist to protect human rights, there are widespread problems with implementation of these measures. The report also makes clear the lack of any clear, legitimate reasons for this impasse.
The Commission notes the failure of the Turkish government to develop a consistent, comprehensive programme of political and constitutional reforms. Despite the appointment of a group of academics with a mandate to revise the constitution, no draft has yet been made public and no timetable has been drawn up for discussion of such a document. Other specific areas of concern include the lack of impartiality of the judiciary, the prevalence of reports of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the security forces, harassment of civil society organisations and restrictions on freedom of expression. The report makes it clear that the human rights situation is disproportionately bad in the east and south-east of the country.
‘This latest document once again confirms the need for the Turkish authorities to take serious steps to reenergise human rights reforms,’ said KHRP Deputy Director Rachel Bernu. ‘Having drawn attention to Turkey’s systematic failures on this front, the European Commission must place human rights at the heart of its dealings with Turkey and demand full compliance with the Copenhagen Criteria. Political and economic considerations cannot be allowed to overshadow such urgent concerns.’
KHRP will release a fuller public statement on the content of the report in due course.