Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies
However, the main obstacles of the accession are political: Turkey needs good governance in an enhanced democracy with full respect of human rights, the rights of minorities in the country and protection of religious and linguistic freedoms, with a constitutionally implemented freedom of the press, and reforms in the legislative and judicial systems. Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed his intention to proceed with constitutional reforms on a number of occasions. I hope that with the election of the new government last June, Turkey will enhance democracy, combat corruption, eradicate violations of human rights, and address major outstanding issues like honour killings, discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity, rape and other sexual crimes. These issues are of great importance to the negotiations. Europe is continuously scrutinizing Turkey on the problem of human rights. Of course, one could rightly argue that Western communities also face similar problems. For example rapes, sexual harassment and the trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation remain common in the West. In certain cases this phenomenon may even be worse than in Turkey. In this vein, I believe that a certain extent, violations of human rights are global, and that reforms must be introduced everywhere and not exclusively in Turkey. The most important characteristic of the Turkish people is the shift from conservatism to an open and outspoken society. Regardless of the origin of the people whether secular or Islamic, both communities are changing. I am certain that the Turkish Civil society is becoming increasingly liberal and more open. During the meetings of JPC, the members of the European Parliament are given the opportunity to discuss the problems citizens face in every day life with NGOs and the representatives of the community. Religious Freedom is a challenging chapter and I suggest that Turkey takes a brave step and goes through change, leaving behind past prejudices. Even today, Christians, Alleviates and other minorities still face obstacles in practising their faith, and as non-Muslims in Turkey, they face strong social scrutiny and hostility. Religious services remain restricted as they require official authorization and permission from the Turkish administration. Should Turkey give substantial space to the non-Muslim religious persons, I believe Turkey on the European doorstep
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...