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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU echoes Sarkozy proposal for a common Economic + Security area for Turkey (+Russia), no accession

EU echoes Sarkozy proposal for a common Economic + Security area for Turkey (+Russia), no accession

Written by ACM
Thursday, 07 May 2009
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    EU Rapporteur on Enlargment Strategy, maistream German MEP Elmar Brok, speaking to "EuroFora", welcomed the proposal made earlier this week by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the EU to"start Now Talks with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", instead of full Accession, at a period when Ankara looks more and more unfit and/or unwilling to respect EU conditions.

    - "For Europe to have strong Political will, it must stop dilutiing itself in an endless Enlargement. It must have borders...Diversities enrich, on the condition that they don't undermine European Cohesion, and don't weaken EU Unity", Sarkozy stressed.
    
    - "Countries like Turkey share a part of common destiny with Europe, with which they have a vocation to build a Privileged Relation, to be closely associated, but not to become Member of the EU"  : "Noone respects his friends by telling them lies. Noone respects his friends by making them promises that will be never kept", he added.

    That's why "we'd better start, from now, negotiating with Turkey to create a common Economic and Security area", Sarkozy proposed.

Significantly, the French President was repeatedly and largely applauded by EU citizens, 3 times, when he made the Turkey point, (strategically placed between Europe's "Political Will" and its cultural heritage, historically open to mutually enriching dialogue with all the World, but never diluted).

    - "We could propose such a great ambition also to Russia, which must not be percieved as an Adversary of Europe, but as a Partner. Thus, we'd create a wide area, of more than 800 Million inhabitants, sharing the same Security, the same Prosperity", he concluded.

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    Sarkozy's move was anounced at the eve of a Franco-German Top meeting with Chancellor Angie Merkel in Berlin on Sunday, to jointly launch the EU Elections campain, after an EU Summit at nearby Prague, to launch a new kind of relations, called "Eastern Partnership", with neighboring countries such as Urkaine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaidjan, etc, (to which Russia, reportedly, is not - and does not want to be - included).

    As for Ukraine, which has already expressed her wish to join the EU in future, "Kiev will have a special place, and a very important role to play", replied earlier this week in Strasbourg, to an "EuroFora" question EU Chairman in office , Czech vice-Prime Minister Alexander Vodra.

    - "This direction is more Realistic for Turkey than Accession negotiations", reacted immediately EU Parliament's Rapporteur for Enlargment Strategy, mainstream German MEP Elmar Brok, commenting Sarkozy's idea for "EuroFora"

     Particularly "as far as it concerns the respect of EU Rules by both sides", he added, hinting at Turkey's now obvious inability and/or unwillingness to abide with EU Acquis, EU Commitments (fex. on Cyprus, etc), and European Democracy/Human Rights rules. (Comp. infra).

    Brok added that, in his view, a similar proposal might be made also to Ukraine and other neighbouring Countries, regardless if they have, or not, a "European vocation". This would not necessarily mean that there couldn't be any accession prospects at all." for all the countries that might be included in this area, according to Brok.  But it's preferable, particularly for Turkey, "because it's a more Realistic approach than full Membership".

    On this point, Sarkozy's proposal, (which he'll share with German Chancellor Merkel), seems more crystal-clear.

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    - "Turkey does not fullfil EU Criteria, and will never fullfil EU Criteria" on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law. "Some have been lying to Ankara, but we must tell the Truth, and have honest and close relations with her", said meanwhile to "EuroFora" on the same issue also the President of EU Parliament's largest Group of MEPs (ChristianDemocrats/EPP), Joseph Daul.
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"Hot" Debate at EU Parliament reveals CHANGE of mood towards "Suspension" of EU - Tukey talks.
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    Earlier this week, many MEPs, and even some of those who were previously in favor of Turkey's controversial EU bid, strongly criticized the persistance and even aggravation of serious Human Rights violations in the country, that ECHR continues to "unanimously" condemn ":

      - "After winning a big victory in the latest Local Elections, the pro-Kurdish party DTP almost doubled its Elected Mayors from 52 to 98", but afterwards "more than 400 politicians were thrown to Prison and prosecuted" by the Turkish Authorities, denounced on behalf of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group, Belgian MEP Frieda Brepoels.

     At the same time, "more than 1.500 Children are closed in Turkish Prisons", she added. "What will the EU Commission do" against these facts ?

- "Turkey appears to be at greater Distance away from Copenhagen Criteria after 4 Years of accession Negotiations, than when they started !", denounced on behalf of the Liberal Group, German MEP Alexander Lambsdorf.    

"On the central issue of Press Freedom, Critical Journalists face obstacles for their accreditation, others are prosecuted, condemned, fined and/or jailed, Media blocked or closed", he denounced.   

 - "EU Made 2 grave Mistakes with Turkey : To start accession negotiations, and to continue them", despite everything, criticized Dutch MEP Bastian Belder, on behalf of the Ind/Dem group.

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- "A 14 year old boy is in the Coma after being hit by a Turkish Policeman. Another 14 years boy died falling into a River to escape from Turkish Police. 2 Human beings were killed on April by the Turkish Police's fire against demonstrators. 185 Children are in prison at Diyarbakir. Hundredrs of democratically Elected politicians and activists of DTP Party have been arrested. More than 207 judicial procedures were launched against the DTP. (etc). All this started when the DTP won many democratic victories at the Local Elections on the End of March 2009, while Mr Erdogan's AKP Party was losing grip over the Kurdish regions. Once again, Turkey sends a message that it doesn't really want a Political Solution of the Kurdish problem inside the democratic system, denounced German MEP Feneleca UCA on behalf of the EuroLeft Group.   

 - "It's obvious that Turkey is a country with very Grave Problem of democratisation :  We have 15.000 Children in Prison.: Hundreds of Arrests with dubious accusations. The Kurdish and Armenian Problems have not been resolved. Priests and Missionaires were murdered these last 2 Years, etc. The Number of Problems is without end. : It's scandalous to exclude Bielorussia, a European Country, and to claim that Turkey will enter the EU !", criticized Italan MEP Roberti Fiore (Right).


    "Some Lobbies absolutely want Turkey's entry in Europe. But nobody can deny that there is a problem, when Cyprus, an EU Member, has part of its Territory Occupied by a Candidate Country, which contines its Occupation and Domination, exerting an absolutely Anti-Democratic force on  the People of the island".

    "Thus, inevitably, will emerge in the Consience of the European People the need for a Decision Contrary to the entry of Turkey in the EU !" "Turkey was always opposed to Europe in History. ...Its entry would mean the loss of any European Identity", Fiore added.

    - For German ChristianDemocrat MEP Richard Seeber, "it's obvious, from all these Facts, that Turkey should be brought "closer", but NOT "IN" the EU !"

    "The list of unresolved Problems has not become shorter. .. On Human Rights and Democracy, control of the Military, etc. Turkey still has a very, very long road to go before it approaches European standards", while "it has not even signed the UN Convention against Torture". EU Commission must become much more strict", he concluded.

    - "The recent Victory of DTP at the Kurdish Regions of Turkey proves that it is democratically popular. But, instead of starting Negotiations with the DTP, on the contrary, Erdogan replied with more Oppression, more Police, more Autoritarianism, more Imprisonments", denounced Italian EuroLeft MEP Vittorio Agnoletto.

    "Our Group (EuroLeft) wants to launch a very Strong Political message to Erdogan : Eithet he starts tio search a negotiated Political Solution to the Kurdish Problem as a matter of Priority, or, otherwise, we ask to SUSPEND the Accession NEGOTIATIONS with the E.U. !", concluded a former supporter of Turkey's controversial EU bid..

    - "Turkey still remains far away from European Values : Cyprus remains a country under Military Occupation for 35 Years, contrary to International Law. The situation of Kurds does not ameliorate. Relations with Greeks and Armenians are constantly under Pressure. Religious Minorities are oppressed and the rights of various Minorities trumbed underfoot, (etc), in front of a blatantly Indifferent EU Commission, which persists to push for the Accession of such a Country inside the EU", denounced French MEP Patrick Louis (Ind/Dem)    
    => "So, let's be Frank : Any attempt to integrate Turkey must be made with due respect of European Democracy, i.e. by REFERENDUM!", he concluded.

     - "It was absolutely wrong to hope that ..  by being nice to Turkey this country will change its Kemalic Fascism into Democratic-like behaviour". In fact, "Democratic reforms in Turkey have been moving with the pace of a 3-legged Turtle !.. The Governing regime in Turkey has proven itself totally Incapable and Unwilling to get its country into the state of a 21st-century Civilisation", denounced Cyprus' Liberal MEP Marios Matsakis.
    
    "The vast Majority of the European Citizens we represent have run out of patience. We've had enough. Commissioner, the "carrot" technique failed .... The time has now come to use the stick !", he concluded.
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    - British Liberal MEP Andres Duff was alone to find all his collegues MEPs "rather ..fickle on Turkey", as he said..  Duff found the "Ergenekon affair" as a "welcome sign"  that "is starting" the "cleansing of the stables" and "attack (againsty the ) deep corruption inside parts of the Turkish State".

    - Only a controversial Turkish businesman from Germany, Vural Öger, speaking on behalf of the "Socialist Group", was rather anxious of Erdogan's reported attempts to at least unearth a few Violent Extremists hidden under the Nationalistic Turkic organisation "Ergenekon". While also accused ...the EU to be responsible (!) for the deadlocks in Turkey's so called "Democratisation process", (desperately longer than that of Spain's swift from Franquism, Eastern Europe's swift from Stalinism to the EU, etc)..

    He was almost echoed, on behalf of the "Green" Group, (chaired by a Turkish origin MP in Germany),  by Dutch MEP, Jost Langendjik, Chair of EU - Turkey JPC, who went as far as to ... find even "some .. improvements" in the ways in which Turkey f.ex. continues to oppress demonstrators on May 1st, adding a mild criticism.
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    -  "The Critical Yardstick" are "Human Rights", replied to MEPs EU Commissioner Oli Rehn.   

 - "The Pace of negotiations with Turkey will ..depend on the progress and intensity of the reforms enhancing fundamental freedoms , .Progress in the ..negotiations will depend on whether there is serious progress in, and .. implementation of ..reforms enhancing fundamental freedoms, human rights and democratic secularism. These are enshrined in EU Treaty and in our common European Values", he said.


    - "It feels like two steps forward and one step Backward", the outgoing Socialist Finnish EU Commissioner found, nevertheless. "We (EU) must be Fair and Firm", he added. "We have to be fair in the sense of maintaining the EU perspective as the critical Driver of reforms in the country, ..At the same time, we have to be firm by applying Rigorous Conditionality, especially as regards fundamental freedoms and democratic principles;  "I am concerned about Media freedom ..in Turkey", he reiterated, (but without adding anything concrete).....
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    - "Between 14 and 18 April 2009, more than 200 officials and members of the Democratic Society Party have been arrested", observed the EU Commissioner. 

   
    But, "the Commission cannot interfere in ongoing legal cases", Rehn claimed. "We support the fight against terrorism", "conducted by respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms". "Condemning the use of force and violence is a Duty for all Parties involved. All must..be committed to peaceful means and peaceful means only", he added

    Rehn simply will "continue to encourage the Turkish authorities to address the problems of the South-East", and "to ensure cultural diversity", promissing anew to "continue to monitor the situation ..and .report in our upcoming progress Report", i.e. Six (6) Months later.. In the meantime, the jailed Mayors and Children got Rehn's promise to "..continue to follow up developments", asking to respect "the rights of Defendants", (in jail)..

    Astonished Strasbourg observers heard Rehn make a dubious "joke" by assimilating the evening "debate on Democracy in Turkey" with the ..."Wine Reform during the 2nd half of Arsenal v Manchester United", claiming that this was "a snapshot of Europe in 2009" !...
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ECHR "unanimously" condemns Turkey for "Unfair Trials" and for "Violating Freedom of Press"
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    Meanwhile, ECHR "unanimously" condemned Turkey anew for "Unfair Trials" and for "violating the Freedom of Press", in a way which highlighted differences between the Turkish and the European Democracies :

    * Meanwhile, ECHR "unanimously" condemned Turkey for throwing a person to Jail for more than ...12 Years (accused only to be "member of an illegal organisation"), after an "Unfair Trial", by a tribunal with legitimate "Doubts" for its "independence and impartiality", and on the sole basis of a so-called "confession" taken in custody while the victim was illegaly "deprived of any assistance by a Lawer", (and afterwards denied).. ("Celic case).
        
    * At another judgement issued this same week, ECHR also "unanimously" condemned Turkey for "violating the Freedom of Expression" of a Monthly Newspaper Editor, persecuted and repeatedly condemned to Prison (later trasnformed to Heavy Fines), for publishing 2 articles strongly critical of Ankara's methods vis a vis kurdish women and other people.     

For the European) Court, the accused texts only launched "Political Calls", which "cannot be taken as calls to use violence". F.ex. a "political speech" which simply includes terms such as "revolution" or "just struggle", "was not equivalent to "war", and was used in relation to a struggle for the recognition of rights".    

Revealing a Gap between Turkey and European Democracies, ECHR observed that, if "such Political calls are believed to be incompatible with the Turkish State's oppressive legislation, this does not make them contrary to (European) Democratic rules". Because, "such wording is similar to that used by political movements freely expressing their views in other CoE member countries", ECHR denounced, (fex. France's PC, ou le facteur Besancenot, etc, currently candidates to EU Elections) ...

    "The main fact" for ECHR is that Turkey was unable to find "any abstract indicating that the authors might have advised violence, or call to a bloody violence or justified terrorism". "Neither did they .. provoke a deep and irrational hate against identified persons", the Judgement explains.    

Moreover, Turkey was also condemned for "Unfair Trial", mainly because the victim hadn't even been informed about what the Public Prosecutor had claimed against him...     

In conclusion, ECHR ordered Turkey ro pay 7.600 € to the victim for Material and Moral Damages, as well as Costs and expenses. (Affair "Ozer").

More ECHR condemnations for Torture or "Inhuman and degrading treatments" were  pronounced the previous weeks, prolonging an already ...long list of condemnations of such violations by Turkey... 

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EU FUNDS' SUSPENSION "NOT EXCLUDED" : German MEP

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- In these conditions, and if nothing changes, "it's not excluded that at least part of EU FUNDS earmarked to Turkey might be SUSPENDED, if such Grave Human Rights Violations persist or even aggravate", said to "EuroFora" German MEP Ingeborg Grässle, an experimented and influential member of EU Parliament's Committee on Budget Control (COCOBU).    

Grässle, who had already tabled previously an Amendment on EU Budget asking to suspend EU Funds earmarked for Turkey over Democracy, Human Rights and International Law violations, told us that, "in fact, this could be done legally at any moment, even without a specific Clause. Because, as a matter of principle, all EU Agreements with 3rd Countries contain a Human Rights Clause".     

Indeed, a Resolution on EU's Human Rights Policy adopted on Thursday by EU Parliament in Strasbourg, asks for "continued Maximum Vigilance as regards Respect for Human Rights Clauses in the Agreements signed by the EU and its 3rd Country partners", and "calls for this Clause to be systematically accompagnied by a genuine Enforcementt Mechanism".
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It's important to create a synergy between "mutually stimulating" EU Countries' moves in order to overcome an "Unjust" Crisis "imported from USA", stressed new French Minister for Economic Revival, Patrick Devedjian, in Strasbourg, warning also that, while hoping for a vigorous Obama US Plan, nevertheless, "Time" is of essence for Europe...

In fact, it's EU's own interest to act Fast, before June 2009 EU Election, since, with Lisbon Treaty not ratified yet, it cannot face again the risk of a Majority Abstention, as back in 1999 and 2004, nor another "anti-EU" mood among Citizens, as in the 2005 French and Dutch "No", followed by the 2008 Irish "No", without endangering rare Historic opportunities, currently open for the EU, whose future is at stake.

From Social issues up to High-Tech Scientific Research, concrete action for Economic revival started from Strasbourg and its European dimension, for the new super-Minister Patrick Devedjian, who visited a Popular Social Housing and Infrastructure project at nearby Hagenau village, before meeting new leaders of Strasbourg's unified mega-University in a Scientific Labo at the Campus, close to EU Parliament and CoE headquarters.

Devedjian, who met also with all the spectrum of Local Political  deciders of Alsace region, close to FrancoGerman borders, wants for deeds to meet the words, in real practice, whenever politicians speak about Strasbourg and Europe's development.

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Devedjan to "EuroFora" : "European coordination can act as a multiplicator by mutual stimulations"
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Devedjian was questioned by "Euro-Fora" on his expectations for reciprocal effects of coordinated European plans :

- "We are living in a (European and Global) system where borders are transparent : When we take measures in France, they produce effects also in Germany, in Belgium, Italy, Spain, or other EU countries, and vice-versa. "So, we can have mutually stimulating effects between national revival Plans, if they are somehow coordinated", ..."They can augment each other's effects, acting as multiplicators and levers". "As a State stimulates Local authorities and Private business, similarly, each EU country's economic revival plan may multiply the effects of other EU countries' actions", he told us.

- "F.ex., when I visited Strasbourg University's Scientific labos, they told me that part of the renovation, funded by France, is realized by German companies located only a few Kms away from the border. Thus, the French revival plan benefits also the German economy. And vice-versa : when Germany takes certain measures, they can have beneficial effects also for French companies"

In an era of Globalisation, "nobody can close and isolate himself inside a Fish-Bowl !", he concluded.
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Economy's revival starts from Strasbourg and Europe, for new French Minister Devedjian
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This could be one of the reasons for which the new French Minister for Economic Stimulus chose to make his 1st visit to Strasbourg, the headquarters of European and Paneuropean Institutions, in the Franco-German river borders at the heart of Europe.

- "It was President Sarkozy's idea", he revealed, adding also fresh "support to Strasbourg's European vocation, not only with words, but also with deeds" :F.ex., the completion of a High-Speed Train network, due to stimulate fast links with Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary and other central EU Countries.

- "This Crisis is Unjust for Europe, because it wasn't its fault". The greatest part of the "Crisis was imported from the USA, where problems are deeper than here'', in the EU. The Crisis "wasn't due to a bad managment by Europe", who was affected by problems which emerged elsewhere. That's why Europe must be united and active enough to face this challenge. said Devedjian, who has just won +5% in popularity...

- "I hope that there will be an "Obama-effect" also on Economy, and that the Plan of the New American President will be substantial enough to face this crisis, which is worse in the USA than in our area", Europe, he added.

"Economic Revival overcomes political divisions : F.ex. Strasbourg's Socialist Mayor "Ries agreed that State actions funded by Public Debt are justified during such exceptional circumstances", noted the Center-Right republican Minister.

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"Zeitnot" for 2009 EU Elections ?

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"My problem is Time", stressed Devedjian from the outset, at Strasbourg's University. "I have to engage 75% of funds in 2009, out of a total of 29 Billion euros", he explained later. "Monitoring will be of essence", because we must "avoid bureaucracy or delays. No project should get lost or neglected in complex meanders of adminstrative offices' moving sands", he warned.

- "I must create activities in the middle of the Crisis", he added. Questioned by EuroFora whether he aims to start creating some "hopes before the June 2009 EU Elections", Devedjian, a former leader of the Governing Political Party in France: UMP, did not immediately reply, but revealed, later, that he "hoped to start at least some Projects on May 2009, even if the bulk of Revival Plan's effects are "expected from Autumn 2009".

However, with only 30% of EU Citizens currently aiming to cast a vote at the forthcoming EU Elections on June, (See other NewStory), the  coordinated moves' results are expected to be crucial for Citizens' participation and votes at the forthcoming June 2009 EU Elections throughout all 27 EU Member Countries...Thus, it's vital for all Europe's own Future that coordinated national Economic revival plans start to have concrete results and create hopes for new dynamics before the June 2009 EU Election...

A real challenge, since careful choices are needed : Our aim is to fund projects which "create activities", even "in the middle of the crisis", and have a "lever effect, attracting other investments", Devedjian said. Because the "Stimulus' Plan has 2 aims : A Tactical one : to create New Activities. And a Strategic one : Choose what can become efficient and useful also in the Long-term". 

- "Are you ready ?", he asked Strasbourg University's new President, professor Alain Beretz, with some 700 million euros in his pockets for Education-Research in France. - "We are !", he replied.

- "The Minister's initiative can accelerate funds, and Time is important for us. This concerns the entire renovation of all our buildings", said to "EuroFora" President, Beretz. "I showed some Scientific Research Labos to Mr. Devedjian. But, If we had more time, I could show him also some Education Amphis, whose condition needs to meet Strasbourg's new Mega-University's ambition" to reach the 10 best in the World, as Prime Minister Fillon earlier anounced here.

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(Devedjian kicks off his Economic Revival tour from Strasbourg University, meeting with its new chairman Beretz, at Scientific Institute Le Bel) 

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Regional Prefectures should gather and select projects to be presented for decision before the end of January 2009.

A well-known close friend of President Sarkozy, who succeeded as EU Chairman to launch, in agreement with German chancelor Merkel and even British prime minister Brown, vigorous EU actions against the Financial/Economic Crisis, (starting from the 1st Historic Summit of EuroZone's Heads of State/Government, October 12 at Elysee Palace, followed by Washington G20 Global Summit), Devedjan will have a key role in the realisation of National and EU plans recently agreed in Brussels.

President Sarkozy is expected to arrive himself in Strasbourg, on the occasion of the official inauguration of its brand New Mega-Hospital, on the 9th of January 2009, at the eve of EU Parliament's session here, Elysee confirmed shortly after Devedjian's visit.

EU is due to review its economic revival plans at March 2009 EU Council in Prague, before the April 2 London Global Summit.

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Multi-facet concrete activities at focus : Stimulus Minister Devedjian at the Political, Social and High-Tech fronts in Strasbourg...

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