Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-02-12-Speech-1-139"

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". Mr President, we are, today, discussing the situation of Turkish women, making recommendations and suggestions to Turkey, making demands of it and insisting that it make changes. This report by Mrs Bozkurt is a good one; it will move democracy forward and help to improve the conditions under which Turkish women live, yet all the things that we, this week, are enjoining on Turkey as it seeks accession are things that we would do well to act on ourselves. Let us, then, once and for all, stop denying fundamental rights to an ethnic group here in Europe. Let us enable them to put forward their demands and claims here in this House. Let us, at last, allow them to trade with the EU and with the rest of the world. Let us allow them to attend schools and universities legally, and let us recognise their qualifications. Let us allow them to participate in European sporting events. Let us do away with this discrimination within the EU. You will be aware of whom I am talking; I am talking about an ethnic group that, in 2004, and by an overwhelming majority, said ‘yes’ to the European Union and sought reunion with the other ethnic group in their homeland, and whose isolation we then promised to end. I am talking about the Turks in Cyprus. What is the winning card up the European Union’s sleeve? What is that thing of which we are rightly particularly proud? It is that the European Community is a peace-building project. How is it that we can become so indifferent as to look away when an EU Member State has serious problems with getting two ethnic groups to live together peacefully, when it needs UN troops and is over-militarised and full to bursting with soldiers and weaponry? If Christian and Muslim cultures cannot manage to co-exist in Cyprus, how is that going to be possible in the far more complicated structure of the European Union? The EU is losing credibility by being insufficiently committed to addressing its own problems. It cannot be united in peace for as long as Cyprus remains a divided island. Let us help not only the women of Turkey, but also the Turkish women of Cyprus, to avail themselves of their rights."@en1

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