Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Ep to Keep Ankara's Democratisation Efforts under Close Watch

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Ep to Keep Ankara's Democratisation Efforts under Close Watch

Article excerpt

In one of his last statements before the European Parliament in his capacity as Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn heavily criticised the decision taken by the Turkish Constitutional Court,aon 11 December 2009, to ban the main pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP). He also deplored the arrests of several DTP party members, including mayors, in the aftermath of the court decision. "These developments do not create the right conditions for the effective implementation of the democratic opening," Rehn said during a plenary debate on democratisation in Turkey, on 19 January in Strasbourg.

In summer 2009, the Turkish government launched the democratic opening' initiative, aiming at raising democratic and living standards for all Turkish citizens, including the Kurdish minority. As part of the new approach, Kurdish-language programmes were allowed to be broadcast by private and public channels. In addition, the government has recently announced the establishment of four mechanisms (the OPCAT monitoring mechanism, a police complaint mechanism, an Independent Human Rights Institute and a Board on Equality and Fight Against Discrimination) to strengthen the framework for civilian and independent monitoring of Turkey's human rights record.

Diego Lopez Garrido, speaking on behalf of the Spanish EU Presidency, alongside all party group speakers echoed Rehn's criticism of the banning of the DTP. "The court decision is of a great concern," Garrido said. The plenary called on the country's politicians to align the law on political parties with European standards without further delay. …

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