Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-02-14-Speech-3-032"

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"Mr President, Mr Lagendijk once said, and rightly so, that recently, since Helsinki, the gap between the European Union and Turkey has narrowed; but the problem is that the gap between Turkey and democratic principles, respect for human rights and compliance with international law remains almost as wide as ever. What we have to achieve is that, as the gap between Turkey and the European Union is reduced, the gap between Turkey and democracy, human rights and international resolutions is reduced proportionally. The truth, however, is that in recent times things have not been going well in this area in Turkey, where human rights are still being violated. For example, we know of the letter by Pierre Sané, the secretary of Amnesty International, to the Commission and Council at the end of last year, and also the threats in the last few days to Akin Birdal and the Turkish Human Rights Association, the persistent declarations by the Turkish authorities on the situation of the Kurdish people and the Cyprus conflict, and many other matters. In adopting the Swoboda report we will for the nth time be sending a positive message to Turkey: look, we in the European Union want our relations to get better and better and for you to be part of our great family, but for this to happen it is essential that you comply with democratic principles. We have to get this message understood by Ankara, but at the moment they do not want to understand. The message is a positive response but with this reasoning, with these conditions, with this hope that demonstrable steps will effectively be taken in the immediate future. I can suggest some, such as freeing our Sakharov prize-winner Leyla Zana, taking a constructive and committed attitude towards Cyprus and the Kurds, and, of course, adopting the essential legal changes to certain laws which date from the military dictatorship and still do not respect human rights."@en1

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