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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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Sarkozy and Merkel want deals with Obama on European Security at Strasbourg's NATO 2009 Summit

oscenato
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In parallel but concording moves, EU Chair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angie Merkel both invited this week US-President elect, Barack Obama, to discuss important deals breaking new ground on European Security during the NATO's 60 Years Anniversary Summit of Heads of State in Strasbourg, where Obama is expected to make his 1st visit to Europe as a President on April 2009.

Merkel focused mainly on smoother NATO - EU Defence and Security policy cooperation, while Sarkozy spoke about PanEuropean Security, associating both Russia and the USA, proposing to freeze missile and shields' deployement until an agreement is reached.

But both tackled some hard nuts to crack : Turkey's VETO against the participation of EU Member Cyprus to EU-NATO cooperation, and Russia's anouncement on deployment of missiles up to Kaliningrad, at EU's belly, in reply to USA's wish to set up missile shields in EU States such as Poland or Czech Republic, etc.


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- "Certainly...one of the points that we'll dicuss with the New US President", Barak OBAMA, "who will come f'or the 1st time in Europe as president, at the NATO Summit", co-hosted by France and Germany in Strasbourg, ""concerns, above all, the European Security and Defence Policy" (ESDP), and "the relations between NATO and its partners", with whom it should "work together", anounced earlier this week Merkel.

We must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", because of a "series of practical issues, sometimes difficult to understand", but that "we must discuss".

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- "An example" of that is "the issue of Cyprus and Turkey", said Merkel, where Ankara raises problems "from Kosovo up to Afghanistan", as also CoE's chair, Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt recently observed in Strasbourg replying to EuroFora's questions.

- "We must do something to smoothen this problem for good, and not only on a case-by-case basis, laboriously negotiated each time". Here, we must find "a reasonable and adequate concept to articulate NATO and European Security and Defense policy", Merkel stressed.

- "With good will from all sides, it could and should be posible. Germany wants also to help on that". Otherwise, "the coming generations will not understand why it took Decades to do so". But, if we "don't even achieve that for Decades, this would be an Historic Failure !", the German Chancellor warned

- "I think that our American partners are increasingly realizing that", Merkel said, pleading for "a stronger European Security and Defence policy, with which, I believe, the Atlantic Security Partnership can also strengthen and solidify".

Meanwhile, USA is also due to take in 2009 a special status inside EU-led EUROCORPS, the European Army HeadQuarters, based in Strasbourg.

Merkel said that after meeting in Berlin with NATO's Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, earlier this week, precisely in order to "prepare NATO's Summit", scheduled for the beginning of April 2009 in Strasbourg.

Scheffe, knows well Strasbourg, since he chaired the CoE, as Holland's Foreign Minister, when he brokered a controversial deal precisely on Turkey and Cyprus about the implementation of ECHR judgements on Greek Cypriot displaced persons' houses and properties in 2003. He returned later at least once, for a WEO meeting at the CoE, where he precisely had highlighted such EU - NATO issues.

EU Commission's 2008 Report on Turkey has just observed that, on European Defense - Security policy, "Turkey continues to object to EU-NATO Cooperation which would involve all EU Member States". "This created Problems for EU-NATO co-operation in the context of Civilian ESDP missions, in particular in Kosovo and Afghanistan".
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 French EU Chair, President Sarkozy and Merkel are visiting Washington on Friday and Saturday for a Global G-20 Summit with current US President George Bush, on the sidelines of which are expected preparatory contacts with US President-elect Obama's entourage, even if himself might stay in Chicago until he takes over on January 21.

Before going to Washington, Sarkozy concluded today an UE - Russia Summit with Dmitry Medvedev, where they "spoke in length on PanEuropean Security" :

- As EU President, I proposed that we meet on mid-2009 in a framework such as OSCE's in order to set the foundations of a Future Pan-European Security, which would associate Russia and USA, and that, meanwhile, nobody speaks about deploying missiles or shields, which complicate the situation".

- NATO's Summit in Strasbourg-Kehl, on April 2009 is a perfect occasion to discuss with our American friends and to prepare a possible OSCE Summit for these issues f.ex. for June or July", Sarkozy concluded.

- We must all abstain from Unilateral measures" dangerous for Europe's security. "Russia only reacted to decisions taken by some other countries. But if they are ready to cooperate, we are ready to discuss. EU could be an intermediary", added Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, before going himself too at the Washington G-20 Economic Summit.

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