EU criticizes move to ban ruling party in Turkey

EP adopted its latest progress report on Turkey Wednesday by a large majority of 467 for, 62 against and 61 abstentions.

EU criticizes move to ban ruling party in Turkey
The European Union reiterated Wednesday its attack on legal moves to close down Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), KUNA reported.

"The closing down of political parties cannot be taken lightly in Europe," EU enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn told a debate on Turkey in the European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg today.

He said the ruling of Turkeys Constitutional Court should be compatible with the democratic principles and the rule of law, including the guidelines of Venice Commission of the Council of Europe.

"We want to see Turkey move on from this case by respecting European values. Turkey cannot afford another wasted year of reforms," said Rehn.

Menawhile, the EP adopted its latest progress report on Turkey Wednesday by a large majority of 467 for, 62 against and 61 abstentions.

The report, written by Dutch MEP Ria Oomen-Ruijten "welcomes the commitment of Prime Minister Erdogan that 2008 is going to be the year of reforms" and "urges the Turkish government to fulfil its promises" by implementing them.

The EP expresses concern about the implications of the AK Party closure case, and said it "expects the Turkish Constitutional Court to respect principles of the rule of law."

On his part, Slovenian State Secretary Janez Lenarcic speaking in the debate said "I would like to stress that we share the Parliament's concerns about the initiated proceedings against the Justice and Development Party (AKP)."

Slovenia holds the current EU Presidency.

In March, Turkey's constitutional court decided that it can hear a case filed by the chief prosecutor aimed at closing down the AKP for "anti-secular activities". The prosecutor also wants 71 AKP officials, including the prime minister and president, to be banned from politics.

Turkey began membership talks with EU in 2005.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Mayıs 2008, 12:01
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