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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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Speaking exclusively to "EuroFora", the New EU Parliament's President, former Polish Prime Minister, ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Jerzy Busek, welcomed proposals by EuroFora about innovative ways for EU Citizens to attend EU debates before important final decisions which affect people's lives.

- "We (EU Parliament) must be transparent", Buzek stressed from the outset.  "We must have clear answers also for delicate questions. If we don't touch a problem, you must know why, and when shall we decide in the nearest future".. "Because "we (EU) must think about Europeans, first of all : They don't understand well what is going on in the EU. So, it's our duty to inform them, to make discussions here more interesting".

"EuroFora" congratulated President Buzek for the anouncement he made, from the 1st day of his election in Strasbourg (on Tuesday, 14 July 2009), on his intention to make  transparent debates, exchanges of views, etc. before the final adoption of decisions in EU Parliament's Plenary, when issues are evolving inside Committees, (See earlier publication).

And we reminded, in this regard, that "EuroFora" has been advocating a project for EU Citizens' active involvement in pluralist EU debates before important EU decisions, since more than a Decade : 1997-2007+

- "Thank you. We (EU Parliament), indeed, have exciting debates", Buzek replied. But, in practice, "without a possibility for our Citizens to see them, not even by the Press, the Radio or TV, etc., because it is in Committees", he regreted.

- "But, they (i.e. Media, Citizens, etc) might interact with you, with MEPs, etc, May be we can imagine something", "EuroFora" proposed.

- "Yes, (but) it needs, a quite new idea", Buzed observed.

- "Why not through some innovations ?", "EuroFora" suggested.

- "Innovation ? That's it. Fantastic  New Information Technologies !", Buzek realized.

- "Precisely, "EuroFora" has such a project, since more than a Decade (1997-2009), to use new technologies for public debates before major EU decisions are taken", we reminded.

- "If you have such proposals, please come to us, come to us. We must" do something, agreed the new EU Parliamen's President.

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    This fits with Buzek's main stance, expressed at EU Parliament's plenary earlier this week in Strasbourg, that the European Union must succeed to overcome a "Crisis of Trust" vis a vis EU Citizens. (See previous EuroFora publication).

    For that purpose, obviously information and debates are valuable, but purely instrumental, procedural means which can help focus on, and highlight a substantial content, attractive to EU Citizens, which needs to be determined by other, political, and not mediatic factors.  

    Buzek spoke about the urgent need to overcome the Global Economic Crisis,  the struggle for Human and Civic Rights, Democracy, etc., the Eastern Partnership, links with Russia, strategic partnership with USA and emerging countries, etc.

    But he also used (while speaking both to "EuroFora" and other Media) the expression : "The Europeans", for EU Citizens. This points right towards what several important EU leaders (including French President Sarkozy, German Chancellor Merkel, etc) have started to highlight particularly during the recent years : That there is a vital need, and an historic opportunity, for the development of a European Conscience, to stimulate e renaissance of a European Identity able to attract Popular support, for the EU to become a strong player in a Multopolar World : In other words, the revitalisation of a project for a "Political Europe".

    By a coincidence, this was indirectly but surely reminded, earlier in Strasbourg, by another ... Busek (this time with a "s") : 

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    Speaking to more than 650 participants from CoE's member countries, at the conclusion of the 2009 Summer University of its Political Schools, Erhard Busek, (with an "s"), former vice-Chancellor of Austria and EU Coordinator for South-Eastern Europe, pointed at the current need to revitalize Europe's "Identity", forged by Greek philosophy and Roman Law, Christian values and Enlightment's ideas, etc. through the ages.     

- "We have almost the same name with Jerzy Buzek (EU Parliament's new President, who is a former Polish Prime Minister), because both our Families come ...from  the same village, located at the Heart of Europe, which was often shared between Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. But my family emmigrated a long time ago to Austria, while Jerzy Buzek's family remained in Poland", explained f. vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek to "EuroFora".   

 An astonishingly concrete and simple example of European Integration from the grassroots : Starting by EU Citizens, i.e. those "Europeans", that EU Parliament's new President, Jerzy Buzek (this time with a "z"), wants to bring alongside MEP's decision-making proces, (according to "EuroFora"'s main idea : Comp. supra)...

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