Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2005-07-05-Speech-2-252"

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". Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, I was here two and a half hours ago, and it is annoying that once again there is a quite unreasonable delay before we can start this debate, especially as it is such an important issue. I have to say, it is no wonder that European competitiveness is on such shaky ground, when people cannot keep to such a simple rule as a timetable. I hope that the Bureau might reflect on this and also do something about it for the future. I welcome this opportunity to discuss women’s rights in Turkey on the basis of Mrs Bozkurt’s excellent report at a particularly important moment in EU-Turkey relations. Last week, the Commission submitted the negotiating framework for Turkey to the Member States and it is the most rigorous framework ever presented by the Commission. It states that the Union expects Turkey to sustain the process of reform and ensure its determined implementation to respect fully the rule of law and human rights in all walks of life and in all corners of the country. I have said that in the negotiations with Turkey the journey is at least as important as the destination, but to have a meaningful journey you need a destination and it is precisely the prospect of EU accession that provides Turkey with such an aim and gives the European Union credible leverage to influence issues such as women’s rights in Turkey. Let us be frank. No other perspective would give Turkey the same incentive to adopt and implement European values on gender equality as the prospect of its becoming a member of the Union. This is the secret of the success of our enlargement policy and let us not forget this secret. I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on her report. It is a well-researched and comprehensive report that addresses many of the issues identified by the Commission in its regular reports. The report’s recommendations should be taken on board by all relevant parties. I welcome in particular the report’s focus on promoting women’s participation in the workforce, increasing the representation of women in decision-making positions and combating domestic violence against women, and especially the need for more shelters for the victims of violence. I share the rapporteur’s appreciation of the Turkish Government’s efforts to introduce constitutional and legislative reforms, for instance the penal code, which addresses the situation of women and promotes gender equality. The new penal code has been criticised in some respects, but overall it represents a clearly positive development that modernises the criminal system, as it includes many improvements for women. I shall give you some very concrete examples. The penal code implies and leads to the criminalisation of marital rape, the abolition of discrimination against non-virgin and unmarried women, the criminalisation of sexual harassment in the workplace, the abolition of the patriarchal concept of the head of family, and equal rights to children born out of wedlock. All this is included in the new penal code. Now it is a matter of implementation, implementation, implementation. Finally, I would like to underline that women’s rights will be a main priority for the Commission in the process of accession negotiations with Turkey and we shall assess the state of women’s rights in depth in our next regular report, which the Commission will adopt on 9 November this year."@en1

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