Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2004-12-15-Speech-3-066"

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"Mr President, today’s debate about the European summit at the weekend has become a continuation of our discussion about Turkey, which we began on Monday evening, and which we will bring to a conclusion immediately after this debate, when we vote on the Eurlings Report. It is a good thing that this House should devote a lot of time to the issue of Turkey’s readiness to join the European Union. That is what the public expects of this Parliament. However, the people at home also expect us to base our debate and our decisions on a serious analysis of the facts, and it is in this regard that I have some doubts. What has been said here today about Turkey’s accession has little to do with the reality in that country. The Dutch Presidency has expressly stated in the introduction that Turkey has fulfilled the political accession criteria, and thus is a democratic state under the rule of law, where basic rights, and especially the rights of minorities, are respected. The President of the Commission has obviously read the most recent Commission Progress Report more closely. He speaks instead about the fact that Turkey meets the political criteria. This apparently means, among other things, that torture is no longer systematically used in Turkish prisons, and that women can hope to one day have the same rights as men in Turkish society. It seems that a lot of my fellow-Members in this House are basing their opinions on this principle of hope – particularly all those who are to the left of centre and who, I suspect, will be in the majority. Mr Schulz, Mr Cohn-Bendit, and others, have told us that a Turkey that is secular and respects the rule of law would strengthen Europe’s community of values. That is true. A secular Turkey which respects the rule of law would indeed strengthen Europe’s community of values. The Turkey of today, though, is still a long way from these values. If we do not admit this to ourselves, we are not only being dishonest with the public, but are also endangering the stability and security that has hitherto been achieved in the European Union. Let us not proceed further down the road of automatic acceptance of accession, or at least not where and when the facts do not really justify it."@en1

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