Progress report on Turkey
Delivered in Plenary - 8th March 2011
Turkey’s momentum towards EU accession continues to falter. One reason, of course, is the non-compliance with the Ankara Additional Protocols and non-recognition and continued occupation of Cyprus.
The refusal by the Turkish government to open its ports and airports to trade from the Republic of Cyprus is unacceptable, but I would also like to mention the fact that they could also have a more constructive approach towards their neighbour Armenia, including the reopening of the shared border with Armenia and an acknowledgement of the deliberate mass killing of Armenians in 1915. Furthermore, Turkey’s thinly disguised political support for Iran risks impeding the EU’s efforts to stop the Islamist theocracy in Tehran from building a nuclear bomb, and that is deeply regrettable.
I am also concerned by its increasing hostility to Israel, our ally, as witnessed by the Gaza flotilla episode and Turkey’s officially published findings. Turkey continues to maintain the Greek Orthodox Monastery at Halki closed for no apparent reason, and to deny its ancient Syriac Christians full community rights. There can be no doubt in my mind that Turkey must now redouble its efforts if it wants to make further progress towards the EU and its values.