Ahtisaari urges EU to treat Turkey fairly
A member of "The Elders" Marti Ahtisaari, now the chairman of the Independent Commission on Turkey, spoke about his commission's latest report.
Former Finnish President and a member of "The Elders" Marti Ahtisaari, now the chairman of the Independent Commission on Turkey, spoke about his commission's latest report on Turkey, "Turkey in Europe: Breaking the Vicious Circle", at a conference in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
At his speech at the Brookings Institute, Ahtisaari said some EU countries expressed their opinions that Turkey would not be an EU member after the negotiations had started, which was against EU decisions made unanimously at EU summits.
EU should not treat Turkey different, Ahtisaari said, adding that EU's credibility was at stake.
He said more than half of the chapters of the negotiation process were blocked, adding that such a negative attitude caused a fall in support to EU in Turkish public. Nearly 70 percent of Turkish people had been in favor of EU membership in 2000, but now it dropped to 42 percent, Ahtisaari said.
Ahtisaari said there were no reasons for Europe to be afraid of Turkey's membership.
He noted that Turkish government should continue its energetic stance, as in the first half of this decade, over reforms which he said were slowed down "after some domestic issues such as the closure case against ruling AK Party, coup threats, controversial presidential election, Ergenekon probe, and PKK terrorism." Ahtisaari urged Turkey to amend the 1982 Constitution.
However, Ahtisaari also said that there were encouraging signs in Turkey which he listed as approval of National Program, appointment of chief EU negotiator, launching of state-run TV broadcast in Kurdish language, academic institutes of Kurdish language to be opened in universities, meeting of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with Democratic Society Party leader Ahmet Turk and the new law that allows trial of military personnel at civil courts.
He said he had meetings with European leaders before his trip to the United states and asked them to treat Turkey fairly, stop blocking negotiations, and not talk about anything other than full membership.
Ahtisaari also touched on recent development about relations between Turkey and Armenia and said resolutions made in foreign parliaments regarding the incidents of 1915 were not helpful for efforts to settle problems between Turkey and Armenia.
He said good relations between Turkey and Armenia would have positive impacts on entire Caucasia.
AA Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Eylül 2009, 15:36