Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2001-10-24-Speech-3-221"

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"Mr President, I think that this debate, once again, underlines the fact that we all share the same premise: that it is imperative that we, in the European Union, should have increasingly close relations with Turkey, until the opportunity arises, when the time is right, that it should become a Member State in its own right. But it also underlines another point of view that we should make very clear to the Turkish authorities: that in order for this to take place, Turkey must become a full democracy. I agree with what Mr Lamassoure has said in his report. The Turks have made advances. It is also true, however, that this constitutional reform contains three elements that impair its credibility. First of all, it ceases to class as crimes actions that are still crimes because they fulfil the conditions as such. Secondly, the constitution is being reformed, but other laws remain in force, such as the Penal Code, the anti-terrorism law and the audiovisual law, which continue to uphold the existence of certain crimes of expression, of opinion, of public demonstration and association. Thirdly, and most importantly, the constitutional reform is not being put into practice. Arbitrary detentions and violations of human rights continue to take place. We all receive, as I do myself, constant complaints, of which, today, there have been many, that are continually causing problems for the defenders of human rights and their organisations, not to mention, of course, the situation of the Kurdish people. Yes, the Kurdish people. It is not enough to lift the restriction of using a language if this is upheld in law and there is no recognition of the existence of a Community as a people in their own right. This is the case with the Kurds. This is even more the case, Mr President, where a Sakharov Prize winner, Mrs Leyla Zana, remains in gaol, and we must continue to strongly demand that she be freed."@en1

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