Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2014-03-11-Speech-2-855-000"

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"Madam President, the recent events concerning the corruption scandal once more make clear how important it is to have a credible accession process because, if Member States did not always reject outright Turkey’s accession no matter what, then we would have much more leverage. If we had not necessarily started negotiations with things surrounding the single market, but more with human rights, with fundamental rights, with justice, we would not have had the same problems now concerning the independence of justice. We simply cannot threaten to stop a negotiation process which is not happening. But instead of being strong and clear on human rights we have been starting to export our own human rights problems into Turkey, as we are doing now with the readmission agreement. We all know that the rights of migrants will not be respected in Turkey, therefore we should not have a readmission agreement, whereas we agreed that visa liberalisation is a very important tool. Yes, there have been important democratic reforms in the past year but they have been overshadowed by declarations on internet freedom and by the violence against protestors in Gezi Park. I too want to remind us of fifteen-year-old Berkin Elvan who died because of injuries caused by tear gas bullets. I am also concerned by attacks on offices of the People’s Democratic Party, Halkların Demokratik Partisi, and I hope that this will not prevent the coming elections from being peaceful and free from attacks. Furthermore any progress is overshadowed by the current corruption scandal and developments that I can only interpret as a threat to the independence of the justice system. But once again, the role of the EU could be much stronger if we were to have a clear commitment to a positive outcome on prospects for membership. We would have much stronger leverage if we were to be clear that yes, we will accept Turkey in our midst if Turkey fulfils the Copenhagen criteria. This is the only thing that counts and Member States should finally be clear about this."@de2

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