27.3.2013, B7 0000/2012
MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION, to wind up the debate on the statement by the Commission, pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure on the 2012 Progress Report on Turkey (2012/2870(RSP))
Ria Oomen-Ruijten,
on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,
B7 0000/2012,
European Parliament resolution on the 2012 Progress Report on Turkey, (2012/2870(RSP))
The European Parliament,
– having regard to the Commission 2012 Progress Report on Turkey (SWD(2012)0336),
– having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2012-2013’ (COM(2012)0600),
–  having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular of 9 March 2011 on Turkey’s 2010 progress report1 , of 29 March 2012 on Turkey’s 2011 progress report2 , of 22 May 2012 on a 2020 perspective for women in Turkey3, and of 22 November 2012 on Enlargement: policies, criteria and the EU’s strategic interests ,
– having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,
– having regard to Council Decision 2008/157/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Turkey  (“the Accession Partnership”), as well as to the previous Council decisions on the Accession Partnership of 2001, 2003 and 2006,
– having regard to the Council conclusions of 14 December 2010, 5 December 2011 and 11 December 2012,
–  having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,
– having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,
A. whereas accession negotiations with Turkey were opened on 3 October 2005 after the Council had approved the Negotiating Framework, and whereas the opening of such negotiations is the starting point for a long-lasting and open-ended process based on fair and rigorous conditionality and the commitment to reform,
B. whereas Turkey has committed itself to reforms, good neighbourly relations and progressive alignment with the EU, and whereas these efforts should be viewed as an opportunity for Turkey itself to continue to modernise, and consolidate and further improve its democratic institutions, the rule of law and the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
C. whereas the EU should remain the benchmark for reforms in Turkey,
D. whereas full compliance with the Copenhagen criteria and EU integration capacity, in accordance with the conclusions of the December 2006 European Council meeting, remain the basis for accession to the EU, which is a community based on shared values, sincere cooperation and mutual solidarity amongst all its Member States,
E. whereas the positive agenda was launched in May 2012 to support and complement the negotiations, without replacing them, through enhanced cooperation in a number of areas of joint interest,
F. whereas in its conclusions of 11 December 2012 the Council endorsed the Commission’s new approach to place the rule of law at the heart of the enlargement policy and confirmed the centrality in the negotiating process of chapter 23 on judiciary and fundamental rights and chapter 24 on justice, freedom and security, which should be tackled early in the negotiations to allow clear benchmarks and maximum time to establish the necessary legislation, institutions and solid track records of implementation,
G. whereas in its 2012 Enlargement Strategy the Commission concluded that, for its economy, strategic location and important regional role, Turkey is a key country for the European Union and that the accession process remains the most suitable framework for promoting EU-related reforms in Turkey; whereas the Commission expressed concern regarding Turkey’s lack of progress on the fulfilment of the political criteria,
H. whereas Turkey has still not implemented, for the seventh consecutive year, the provisions stemming from the EC-Turkey Association Agreement and the Additional Protocol thereto,
I.  whereas negotiating chapters for which technical preparations have been concluded should be opened without delay according to established procedures and in line with the Negotiating Framework,
J. whereas there is an economic interdependence between the European Union and Turkey with trade between the EU and Turkey totalling EUR 120 billion in 2011,
K. whereas the EU is Turkey’s largest trading partner and Turkey is the EU’s sixth largest trading partner; whereas foreign direct investment by EU Member States in Turkey amounted to 75%,
L. whereas the Commission assessed that in the area of economic policy Turkey’s overall level of preparedness is advanced and that the capacity for economic policy formulation and coordination is adequate,
M.  whereas Turkey has the potential to play a pivotal role in diversifying energy resources and routes for oil, gas and electricity transit from neighbouring countries to the EU; whereas there is a potential for both Turkey and the EU to benefit from Turkey’s rich renewable energy resources in creating a sustainable low-carbon economy,
N. whereas EU dialogue and cooperation with Turkey on stability, democracy and security, with particular reference to the broader Middle East, are strategic; whereas Turkey strongly and repeatedly condemned the Syrian regime’s violence against civilians and provides vital humanitarian assistance to Syrians fleeing violence across the border,
O. whereas Turkey and Armenia need to proceed to a normalisation of their relations by ratifying, without preconditions, the protocols and by opening the border,
P. whereas the casus belli threat declared by the TGNA against Greece in 1995 should be withdrawn; whereas a new round of talks between Turkey and Greece to improve their relations is important,
Constructive dialogue and common understanding
1.  Believes that a renewed mutual engagement in the context of the negotiation process is needed to maintain a constructive relationship; stresses the importance of creating the conditions for a constructive dialogue and the foundations for a common understanding; notes that this should be based on common values of democracy, rule of law and respect for human rights; commends the Commission and Turkey for the implementation of the positive agenda, which proves how, in a context of mutual engagement and clear objectives, Turkey and the EU could advance their dialogue, achieve common understanding, produce positive change and needed reforms;
2.  Stresses Turkey’s strategic role, politically and geographically, for the foreign policy of the EU and its neighbourhood policy; recognises Turkey’s role as a neighbour and an important regional player and calls for further reinforcement of the existing political dialogue between the EU and Turkey on foreign policy choices and objectives; regrets that the alignment of Turkey with CFSP declarations continued to be low in 2012; encourages Turkey to develop its foreign policy in the framework of dialogue and coordination with the EU; calls on Turkey and the EU to cooperate more closely to strengthen the forces of peace and democracy in the southern neighbourhood, a region of critical importance both for the EU and Turkey;
3.  Expresses support for dialogue and re-established relationships between Turkey and Israel;
4. Welcomes the Council decision to invite the Commission to take steps towards visa liberalisation, in parallel with the signature of the readmission agreement; urges Turkey to sign and implement the readmission agreement without further delay and to ensure that, until this agreement enters into force, existing bilateral agreements are fully implemented; recalls that Turkey is one of the key transit countries for irregular migration to the EU; acknowledges the steps undertaken by Turkey to prevent irregular migration and underlines the important need to intensify cooperation with the EU on migration management, the fight against human trafficking and border controls; stresses once again the importance of facilitating access to the EU for business people, academics, students and representatives of civil society from Turkey; supports the efforts of the Commission and the Member States to implement the visa code, harmonise and simplify visa requirements and create visa facilitating centres in Turkey; reminds the Member States of their obligations under the association agreement in line with the Soysal Ruling of the European Court of Justice of 19 February 2009;
5. Stresses the need to adopt the Draft Law on Foreigners and International Protection; expresses concern at the continued arbitrary refusal of access to the asylum procedure and at the practice of repatriation of refugees, asylum-seekers and other people who may be in need of protection; urges the government to align  with international standards the detention regulations found to be unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of Abdolkhani and Karimina vs. Turkey;
Fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria
6.  Commends the Constitution Conciliation Committee for its commitment to a new Constitution and for the inclusive process of consultation of civil society, which reflected the diversity of Turkish society; expresses concern at the apparent slow progress made by the Committee so far; encourages the Committee to continue its work and to tackle in an inclusive, representative and collegial way, and in line with the criteria and values of the EU, key issues such as (i) the separation of powers and an adequate system of checks and balances, (ii) relations between the State, society and religion, (iii) an inclusive system of governance securing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens and (iv) an inclusive concept of citizenship; calls on all political parties and actors concerned to have a constructive approach for the negotiation of  the new Constitution; is of the opinion that the involvement of and dialogue with the Venice Commission would produce positive results and support the Constitutional process;
7.  Stresses the need for further progress in implementing the 2010 constitutional amendments, in particular the adoption of laws on the protection of personal data and military justice and of laws introducing affirmative action measures in order to contribute to realising gender equality; notes that the presence and the powers of the Minister of Justice and his Undersecretary in the High Council of the Judges and Prosecutors (HCoJP) are causes for considerable concern regarding the independence of the judiciary; welcomes the entry into force of legislation providing the right to individual application to the Constitutional Court, as foreseen by the 2010 constitutional amendments;
8.  Reaffirms the fundamental role of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) as the centre of Turkey’s democratic system and stresses the importance of support and commitment amongst all political parties for the reform process, in particular a valuable legal framework protecting and enhancing fundamental rights for all communities and citizens and lowering the 10% threshold for representation in the TGNA; commends the work of the Human Rights Inquiry Committee and asks for a more central role of the EU Harmonisation Committee to promote the alignment of new legislation with the acquis or with European standards during the legislative process;
9.  Stresses that the reform of the Turkish judiciary system is central to the efforts of democratic consolidation in Turkey and is an indispensable prerequisite for Turkey’s modernisation and that such reform must lead to a modern, efficient, fully independent and impartial judicial system guaranteeing due process of law for all citizens; welcomes the third judicial reform package as a step towards a comprehensive reform process in the area of the judiciary and fundamental rights; stresses however the crucial importance to continue the reform process with a fourth judicial reform package (a) addressing the excessively broad definition of criminal offences and, in particular, what constitutes an act of terrorism under the Penal Code or the Anti-Terror Law, with the urgent need to introduce a clear distinction between the promotion of terrorism and the incitement to violence and the expression of non-violent ideas, in full compliance with the ECtHR case law, in order to safeguard freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, including student protests, and freedom of association, (b) addressing the issue of the excessively long pre-trial detention periods, (c) addressing the need to allow full access to the prosecution file for defence lawyers, d) setting criteria to promote the quality and consistency of evidence and (e) reviewing the role and scope of special courts;
10. Underlines the importance of providing effective protection for human-rights defenders; draws particular attention to the trial of Pinar Selek, which has lasted almost 15 years and, despite three acquittal decisions, resulted in a life sentence pronounced on 24 January 2013 by the heavy Penal Court n. 12 in Istanbul; takes the view that this trial is an example of the shortcomings of Turkey’s justice system;
11. Welcomes the changes to the Code of Criminal Procedure and to the Law on the Execution of Punitive and Security Measures to allow the use of any language other than Turkish  in Courts and looks forward to a rapid implementation; welcomes the entry into force on 19  January 2013 of the law on payment of compensation due to long trial durations and late, partial or non-execution of court verdicts and expresses hope that the foreseen domestic remedy will decrease the number of pending cases against Turkey at the  ECtHR;
12. Is concerned about ongoing trials and long pre-trial detention periods, which affect activists, lawyers, journalists and members elected to the TGNA from the opposition parties, which represents an interference in legal political activities and with the right to political association and participation; welcomes the abolition of special courts established by the Government of Turkey  in 2005 as voted the TGNA, but regrets the fact that the closure will not affect the existing prosecutions;
13. Notes that in a culture of tolerance minority rights should be fully recognised; expects that due process of law will be followed in the appeal made by the Prosecutor for a dismissal of the January 2012 Court decision on the Hrant Dink murder case based in part on the argument that the murder was committed by an organisation;
14. Calls upon the Government of Turkey, in order to increase the efficiency of judicial proceedings and address the ongoing backlog of cases, to bring its regional courts of appeal, which were legally due to be operational by June 2007, into operation as soon as possible and to focus on training judges and prosecutors for this purpose;
15. Notes that the Ad Hoc Delegation for the Observation of the Trials of Journalists in Turkey will continue to monitor the trials of journalists and will follow judicial reforms in Turkey addressing freedom of expression and media;
16. Encourages Turkey to adopt the Human Rights Action Plan as prepared by the Ministry of Justice, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, based on the case law of the ECtHR in order to address issues raised in judgements of the ECtHR where Turkey was found to violate the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); supports the Ministry of Justice and the HCoJP in providing judges and prosecutors with human rights training; welcomes the establishment by the HCoJP of new assessment criteria for judges and prosecutors rewarding respect for the provisions of the ECHR and judgements of the ECtHR;
17. Calls on Turkey to reaffirm its commitment to the fight against impunity and to expedite efforts to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and fully align its national legislation with all obligations under the Rome Statute, including by incorporating provisions to cooperate promptly and fully with the ICC;
18. Recalls that freedom of expression and media pluralism, including on the internet, are core European values and that a truly democratic society requires true freedom of expression, including the right of dissent; highlights the special role of Public service media in strengthening democracy, and calls on the authorities to ensure its independence, sustainability and compliance with European Union standards; underlines once again the importance of abolishing legislation providing for disproportionately high administrative tax fines on the media, leading in some cases to their closure or to self-censorship, and the urgent need to reform the internet law; stresses the importance of tackling restrictions of fundamental freedoms in the broader context of the rule of law, both in terms of wording and application of the law; is concerned, in particular, that the Penal Code and Anti-Terror Law are used to persecute non-violent statements when they are perceived as supporting  the aims of a terrorist organisation; stresses the need to amend articles 26 and 28 of the Constitution, which limit the freedom of expression on the basis of national security, public order and national unity; reiterates, therefore, its previous calls to the Government of Turkey to finalise the review of the legal framework on freedom of expression and to bring it, without delay, in line with the ECtHR case law;
19. Takes note of the concern of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media over the high number of trials against journalists and journalists in prison and calls on the Government of Turkey to ensure that trials are carried out in a transparent manner and with adequate conditions and procedural rights for the defendants;
20. Is concerned that the Act on the Establishment of Radio and Television Enterprises and their Broadcasts contains restrictions  which are not in line with the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive;
21. Notes with concern that most media are owned by and concentrated in large conglomerates with a wide range of business interests ; reiterates its call for the adoption of a new media law addressing, inter alia, the issues of independence, ownership and administrative control;
22. In order to eradicate completely torture and ill-treatment by the security forces, encourages Turkey to set up the National Prevention Mechanism requested by the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, ratified in 2011;
23. Calls on Turkey to constitutionally restrict closure to only those political parties that advocate the use of violence as a means to overthrow the constitutional order, in line with the Venice Commission recommendations;
24. Fully supports the Commission’s new approach to open the chapters on the judiciary and fundamental rights and on justice and home affairs early on in the negotiation process and to close them as the very last ones; stresses that official benchmarks would provide a clear roadmap and would give a boost to the reform process; calls therefore on the Council for renewed efforts for the opening of Chapters 23 and 24;
25. Welcomes the Law on the Ombudsman and the appointment of a first Head Ombudsman, who shall ensure the credibility of this institution through his decisions; stresses that the Head Ombudsman should promote public confidence in transparency and accountability in public services; reminds that the Head Ombudsman and board members should be elected among candidates who are non-partisan and impartial; calls on the board of the Ombudsman that the regulation on the internal decision-making process guarantees the independence and impartiality of the institution;
26. Encourages Turkey to continue the process of civilian oversight over security forces; calls for an amendment of the Law on Provincial Administrations to give civilian authorities broader oversight of military operations and the Gendarmerie’s law enforcement activities; stresses the importance of setting up an independent law enforcement complaints Agency to investigate complaints of human rights abuses, ill-treatment and possible wrongdoing by Turkish law enforcement agencies; takes the view that the legal provisions on the composition and powers of the Supreme Military Council need to be reformed;
27. Notes that, in the ‘sledgehammer’ trial a first instance court sentenced 324 suspects to 13-20 years after lengthy pre-trial detention periods; stresses that investigations of alleged coup plans, such as the ‘Ergenekon’ and ‘Sledgehammer’ cases, and the investigation on the KCK must demonstrate the strength and the proper, independent, impartial and transparent functioning of Turkish democratic institutions and the judiciary, and their firm, unconditional commitment to respect for fundamental rights; is concerned about the allegations regarding the use of inconsistent evidence against the defendants in such cases; regrets that these cases have been overshadowed by concerns about their excessively wide scope and the shortcomings in the proceedings and is concerned about the adverse effects on society;
28. Welcomes the law setting up the Turkish National Human Rights Institution (TNHRI); calls for its implementation without delay to promote and monitor the effective implementation of international human rights standards; stresses the importance of using all EU instruments available in the field of the promotion of human rights to actively support the setting-up and the well functioning of the TNHRI and the empowerment of civil society organisations;
29. Stresses the importance of active and independent civil society organisations (CSOs) for democracy; underlines the importance of dialogue with CSOs and stresses their crucial role in contributing to enhanced regional cooperation on social and political aspects; is therefore worried that CSOs continue to face fines, closure proceedings, and administrative obstacles to their operations and that consultation of CSOs remains to be an exception rather than the rule; welcomes the Government of Turkey’s improved cooperation with NGOs, but calls for their broader consultation in policy-making, including the formulation of policies and legislation and in the monitoring of activities of the authorities;
30. Stresses that more  progress is needed in the areas of labour and trade union rights; calls on Turkey to continue working on new legislation in this area to ensure that it is in line with the EU acquis and ILO conventions, especially the right to strike and the right to bargain collectively;  stresses the importance of opening Chapter 19 on social policy and employment;
31. Welcomes the Law on the protection of family and prevention of violence against women; commends the National Action Plan to combat Violence against Women (2012-2015) and stresses the need to enforce it effectively nationwide; calls on the Ministry for Family and Social Policies to continue its efforts to increase the number and quality of shelters for women and minors in danger; stresses the importance to provide women who have been victims of violence with concrete alternatives and self-sustainment prospects; commends Turkey’s efforts at all levels in the fight against ‘honour killings’, domestic violence and the phenomenon of forced marriages and child brides, and underlines the importance of a zero-tolerance attitude towards violence against women and the importance of continuing to step up prevention measures; is concerned, however, by the fact that, despite such efforts, violence against women is still observed regularly, and asks that those who fail to protect and assist victims be identified and prosecuted; stresses the importance of tackling poverty amongst women and increasing women’s social inclusion;  calls on the Ministry to continue to actively promote women’s rights, education, including bridging the gender gap in secondary education, and participation in the labour market, which remains low, in politics and at senior level in the administration and the private sector, if necessary by foreseeing reserved quotas and by reviewing some special laws regulating employment in Turkey; encourages the Government of Turkey to revise the Law on political parties and the Law on elections to make the inclusion of women a priority for political parties; notes that Turkey’s 2023 employment target for women is 35%, while the EU 2020 Strategy is targeting 75% of women employment; encourages Turkey to strive to achieve  an ambitious  target of  women employment;
32. Expresses concern that the draft law on antidiscrimination does not address discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity; stresses the urgent need for comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and the establishment of an anti-discrimination and equality board to protect individuals against discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or sexual identity, age and disability; expresses concern at the frequent attacks on transgender persons and the lack of protection provided to LGBT persons against acts of violence; calls on Turkey to combat homophobia and adopt an action plan to promote the full equality of rights, including labour rights, and full acceptance of LGBT persons;  underlines the need for a hate crimes legislation which will include heavier sentences for crimes based on any forms of discrimination;
33. Urges the Turkish authorities to take strong and effective measures to combat expressions of anti-Semitism, thus setting an example for the region;
34. Welcomes the continued implementation of legislation amending the 2008 law on foundations and broadening the scope of the restoration of the property rights of non-Muslim communities; calls on the relevant authorities to assist the Syriac community in clarifying the difficulties faced with property and land registration; calls for a solution for the large number of properties of the Latin Catholic Church which remain confiscated by the State; notes that the progress has been particularly slow in extending the rights of the Alevi minority; recalls the urgent need to continue vital and substantial reform in the area of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, in particular by enabling religious communities to obtain legal personality, by eliminating all restrictions on the training, appointment and succession of clergy, by recognising Alevi places of worships and by complying with the relevant judgments of the ECtHR and the recommendations of the Venice Commission; calls on Turkey to ensure that the Saint Gabriel monastery is not deprived of its lands, and that it is protected in its entirety; believes that a broader composition of the Directorate General for Religious Affairs, so as to include also representatives of religious minorities, would prove beneficial, as it would promote an inclusive concept of society; calls on Turkey to remove the reference to religion from national identity cards and to guarantee that religious education respects the religious diversity and plurality of Turkish society;
35. Recalls that education plays a pivotal role in the process of building an inclusive and diverse society built on respect for religious communities and minorities; urges the Government of Turkey to pay special attention to educational materials in schools, which should reflect ethnic and religious plurality and plurality of beliefs in Turkish society, eliminate discrimination and prejudice and promote the full acceptance of all religious communities and minorities, and stresses the need for unbiased learning materials;
36. Welcomes the direct political dialogue that the Government of Turkey has recently opened with Abdullah Öcalan; deems that a perspective for negotiations has been opened which could lead to a historical agreement settling the Kurdish conflict in a peaceful and democratic way; therefore, encourages the conflict parties to transform talks into structured negotiations as soon as possible; underlines the constructive role that all political parties, media and civil society in Turkey must play for the peace process to succeed and praises the cross-party and civil society support for this initiative; notes that Turkey continued to demonstrate resilience at the terrorist attacks by the PKK; considers that true and sincere political dialogue is necessary and calls on Turkey to invest renewed efforts towards a political solution to the Kurdish issue; asks all political forces to ensure an adequate political platform and to debate in a constructive way the Kurdish issue and to facilitate a real opening to the claims for basic rights in the Constitutional process which reflects the pluralism in Turkey and in which all citizens can find themselves and their rights fully recognised; asks all political forces to work in alliance towards the goal of reinforced political dialogue and a process of further political, cultural and socio-economic inclusion and participation of citizens of Kurdish origin, in order to guarantee the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly and promote the peaceful inclusion of citizens of Kurdish origin into Turkish society; welcomes the new legislation to open the possibility to use the native language in trials and the positive discussion on the use of Kurdish in education; recalls that a political solution can only be built upon a truly democratic debate on the Kurdish issue and expresses concern at the large number of cases launched against writers and journalists writing on the Kurdish issue and the arrest of several Kurdish politicians, mayors and members of municipal councils, trade unionists, lawyers, protestors and human rights defenders in connection with the KCK trial; underlines the importance of promoting a discussion of the Kurdish issue within the democratic institutions, particularly the TGNA;
37. Welcomes the initiatives to reopen the Greek orphanage of Büyükada as an international centre of cultures and underlines the importance of lifting all obstacles to a speedy reopening of the Halki Seminary; welcomes and expects the speedy  implementation of the declaration of the Government of Turkey to reopen a Greek minority school on the island of Gökçeada (Imbros), which constitutes a positive step towards the preservation of the bicultural character of the Turkish islands of Gökçeada (Imbros) and Bozcaada (Tenedos), in line with Resolution 1625 (2008) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe; notes, however, that further steps are needed in order to address the problems encountered by members of the Greek minority particularly with regard to their property rights;
38. Strongly condemns the terrorist attack against the US embassy in Ankara of 1 February 2013 and presents its condolences to the family of the deceased Turkish citizen; recalls that while further measures to counter terrorist actions should be taken to ensure the security of the state and its people, those should not come at the expense of human and citizens’ rights;
39. Calls on the Turkish authorities to ensure that the circumstances of the massacre of Uludere / Sirnak on 28 December 2011 are fully clarified so that those responsible are brought to justice;
40. Welcomes the incentives package seeking to increase investment and economic development in the least developed regions of Turkey, including the South East and the continuation of the South East Anatolia project; takes note of the verdict of the Higher Administrative Court (Danistay) on the annulment of the permit to construct the Ilisu Dam, based on environmental impact studies and applicable law; calls on the Government of Turkey  to preserve this archaeological and environmental heritage by prioritizing smaller, ecologically and socially sustainable projects;
41. Reiterates the need to strengthen cohesion among Turkish regions and between rural and urban areas to open opportunities for the population at large and promote economic and social inclusion; highlights the particular role of education and the need to tackle persistent and substantial regional disparities in the quality of education and enrolment rates; calls for steps conducive to the opening of Chapter 22 on Regional Policy;
42. Welcomes the establishment of an Ombudsperson for children’s rights and the adoption of Turkey’s first strategy on the rights of the child; expresses concern about the disproportionally high poverty rate and child labour amongst children, particularly in rural areas; stresses the need for a comprehensive strategy to combat child poverty and child labour, especially in seasonal agricultural work, and to continue to promote access to education for boys and girls alike; is concerned that the number of active juvenile justice courts has decreased and urges Turkey to provide alternatives to detention for minors; calls on the Government of Turkey to continue to improve the conditions of the detention centres for minors; recalls the importance of independent monitoring and protection mechanisms to protect rights and prevent abuse;
43. Welcomes the improvement of the overall business environment in Turkey especially by the entry into force of the new Turkish Commercial Code and by the consistent support for small and medium enterprises (SME) provided by the SME Development Organisation (KOSGEB); calls for greater partnership between Turkish and EU businesses;
44. Reminds Turkey that tens of thousands of EU citizens and residents who have been victimized by the fraud committed by the so-called ´Green-Funds´ still await redress and calls on the authorities to take all necessary measures in order to accelerate the process;
Building good neighbourly relations
45. Takes the view that Turkey missed an important opportunity to start a process of engagement and normalisation of relations with Cyprus, with the occasion of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union; recalls that the EU is based on the principles of sincere cooperation and mutual solidarity amongst all its Member States and respect for the institutional framework; stresses that progress towards the normalisation of Turkey’s relations with the Republic of Cyprus is urgently needed in order to provide new momentum to the EU- Turkey accession negotiations;
46. Emphasises that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has been signed by the EU, the 27 Member States and all other candidate countries and that it is part of the acquis communautaire; calls, therefore, on the Government of Turkey to sign and ratify it without further delay; recalls the full legitimacy of the Republic of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone, in accordance with UNCLOS;
47. Expresses once again its strong support to the reunification of Cyprus, based on a fair and viable settlement for both communities; underlines the urgency of an agreement between the two communities on how to proceed with the substantive settlement negotiations, so that the negotiating process, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General, can soon regain momentum; calls on Turkey to begin withdrawing its forces from Cyprus and transfer the sealed-off area of Famagusta to the UN in accordance with UNSC Resolution 550 (1984); calls on the Republic of Cyprus to open the port of Famagusta under EU customs supervision in order to promote a positive climate for the successful solution of the ongoing reunification negotiations and allow Turkish Cypriots to trade directly in a legal manner that is acceptable to all;
48. Takes the view that the Committee on Missing Persons is one of the most sensitive and important projects in Cyprus and its work affects equally lives of thousands of people on both sides of the island; encourages Turkey and all parties concerned to further intensify its support for the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus; takes the view that dialogue and a common understanding on issues such as full access to all relevant archives and military zones are required; calls for special consideration for the work done by the Committee on Missing Persons;
49. In accordance with the principles of international law calls on Turkey to refrain from any new settlement of Turkish citizens on Cyprus, as this would continue to change the demographic balance and reduce the allegiance of its citizens on the island to a future common state based on its common past;
50. Stresses the importance of a coherent and comprehensive security approach in the Eastern Mediterranean and calls on Turkey to allow political dialogue between the EU and NATO by lifting its veto on EU-NATO cooperation including Cyprus, and consequently calls on the Republic of Cyprus to lift its veto on Turkey’s participation in the European Defence Agency;
51. Urges Turkey and Armenia to proceed to a normalisation of their relations by ratifying, without preconditions, the protocols on establishment of diplomatic relations, by opening the border and by actively improving their relations with particular reference to cross border cooperation and economic integration;
Advancing EU-Turkey cooperation
52. Deplores Turkey’s refusal to fulfil its obligation of full, non-discriminatory implementation of the Additional Protocol to the EC-Turkey Association Agreement towards all Member States; recalls that this refusal continues to deeply affect the process of negotiations;
53. Reiterates its condemnation, in the strongest terms, of the continuing terrorist violence by the PKK, which is on the EU list of terrorist organisations, and by all other terrorist organisations; expresses its full solidarity to Turkey and to the families of the many victims; calls on the Member States, in close coordination with the EU counter terrorism coordinator and Europol, to intensify cooperation with Turkey in the fight against terrorism and organised crime as a source of financing of terrorism; calls on Turkey to adopt a data protection law so that a cooperation agreement can be concluded with Europol and judicial cooperation with Eurojust and with the EU Member States can further develop; takes the view that the assignment of a police liaison officer to Europol would help improve bilateral cooperation; welcomes the adoption of  legislation on the financing of terrorism in line with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations;
54. Supports Turkey’s commitment to democratic forces in Syria and the provision of humanitarian assistance to the increasing number of refugees from Syria who fled the country; recognizes the fact that the repercussions of the rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria on the security and stability of the region are multiplying; asks the Commission, the Member States and the international community to further support Turkey’s efforts to cope with the growing humanitarian dimension of the Syrian crisis; underlines the importance of a common understanding between the EU and Turkey on how to deliver the available humanitarian assistance to the displaced Syrians currently on Turkish territory or waiting at its borders; underlines that beyond humanitarian assistance the EU and Turkey should actively seek to develop a joint strategic vision to achieve reinforced leverage to end the tragic crisis in Syria;
55. Welcomes the decision to enhance cooperation between the EU and Turkey on a number of important energy issues and calls on Turkey to commit to this cooperation; believes that, in view of Turkey’s strategic role and considerable renewable energy resources, initial consideration should be given to the value of opening negotiations on Chapter 15 on energy with a view to furthering the EU-Turkey strategic dialogue on energy; underlines the need for more enhanced cooperation on the strategy for the EU energy corridors towards the EU; considers that both the enhanced EU-Turkey energy cooperation negotiations on Chapter 15 should also encourage the development of renewable energy potential and cross-border electricity transmission infrastructure;
56. Considers that Turkey is an important partner in the Black Sea region, which is of strategic importance to the EU; encourages Turkey to further support and actively contribute to the implementation of EU policies and programmes in this region;
57. Calls on the Commission to continue its support to civil society organisations and people-to-people activities through an adequate funding of the Civil Society Dialogue, the EIDHR and Life Long Learning programmes, including culture- and media-related activities;
58. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the HR/VP, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey.
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