Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2007-10-24-Speech-3-020"

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"Mr President, first of all, I would like to thank Mrs Oomen-Ruijten for drawing up this report which will be submitted to the Commission and should be taken into account as Parliament’s contribution to the forthcoming progress report. Turkey has overcome domestic problems, the Government has a clear mandate, the referendum on Sunday on constitutional amendments concerning the election of the President produced the right outcome, and there is now no reason to delay the reforms any longer. I would therefore like to begin with an appeal to the Turkish Government: if it is serious about joining the EU, then it has to increase the intensity of the reforms. Relatively little happened here last year, as we all know. Secondly, the reforms are intended to benefit the Turkish people first and foremost. They are not an end in themselves or any sleight of hand on Europe’s part; they are intended to address the deficits which should not be present in a democracy, notably in relation to freedom of opinion, freedom of religion, women’s rights, minority rights, electoral law, etc. Turkey must tackle these issues and dismantle these deficits of its own accord. I would like to mention another subject as well, namely the Armenian question. As a German, I think that we can expect a clear acknowledgement of its historical responsibility from Turkey. Its refusal to speak out on this issue and remove the blockades of Armenia is a topic which must continue to be addressed in the discussions. At present – as Mr Swoboda has just said – there is a concern that military conflict in the Kurdish region will spill over into Iraq. Here, we clearly prefer a diplomatic solution, a negotiated solution, instead of a military solution. I fully endorse the position of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament on this issue. Ultimately, Turkey itself must determine whether and how it wishes to continue down the road to Europe. From our perspective, full accession to the EU is not the only option; the negotiations have purposely remained open-ended and it is ultimately up to Turkey whether it wishes to pursue this route proactively. It is not only about whether Europe itself has the capacity to grant accession to Turkey."@en1

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