Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies
reform) has a comfortable majority and has had the capacity to make use of this strong parliamentary majority in order to resolutely pursue reforms. Furthermore, the 2010 Progress report of the European Commission signals that although there have been some reforms further progress towards meeting the political criteria is of major importance. On the other hand, there have been a number of positive developments in Turkey over the last years such as Turkey signing the protocols for normalisation of relations with Armenia, the public debate on the rights for citizens of Kurdish origin, and the work on a comprehensive judicial reform strategy. Turkeyâ€™s commitment to the Nabucco - project is also a strong signal. A second recurring issue is the implementation of adopted reforms. Fulfilling the Copenhagen criteria involves more than simply adopting new laws or changing the constitution. These new laws have to be implemented throughout the whole country. I am particularly worried about the impunity and the passivity regarding domestic violence, honour killings and forced marriages. One out of every four women has been injured as a result of physical or sexual violence. Although all necessary legislation is now in place, the implementation is still insufficient. Apart from these general challenges there are a number of issues which are reason for particular concern. I concur with the analysis of the European Commission regarding the political pressure on the media that affects press and media freedom. Moreover, the situation regarding minority rights remains a matter of great concern and the problems of the Alevi and non-Muslim religious communities still have to be solved. Last but not least, the European Parliament has repeatedly called on Turkey to fully implement the Additional Protocol to the Association Agreement. Not only do we consider this to be a contractual obligation of Turkey, the issue also casts a large shadow over the EU-Turkey negotiations. Looking at the near future I would like to conclude by affirming that adopting a genuine and broadly supported agenda for reform (including constitutional reform) is crucial not only for the negotiations but first and foremost for Turkish society itself. Only a society which is guided by respect for human 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...