Europe tells Europe: Do not be hypocritical

Co-chairwoman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Hélène Flautre
Co-chairwoman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Hélène Flautre

In one of the strongest criticisms against European policy on Turkey in years, Co-chairwoman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Hélène Flautre accused Germany, France and Greek Cyprus of hypocrisy vis-à-vis Turkey, explicitly naming them in a written statement she made minutes before a press conference held by Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle yesterday. Flautre made a strong plea to the countries to abandon their hypocritical approach, which is also damaging EU interests. In an unconventional press statement, the French Green strongly lashed out at the EU for not giving a real membership perspective to Turkey and publicly named France (her own country), Germany and Greek Cyprus as the member countries blocking Turkey’s EU path, regardless of whatever reforms Ankara makes. Using very strong language, Flautre said the aforementioned three member countries’ policies were simply “unacceptable,” while also stressing that there were still problems in the field of freedom of media and expression and human rights in Turkey.“It is simply unacceptable that there is a core of EU member states [notably Germany, France and Cyprus] that wants to block Turkey ‘s EU perspective, regardless of the reforms it implements or its progress with regard to respecting the ‘Copenhagen criteria’,” said Flautre in her statement. Calling on Germany, France and Greek Cyprus to abandon their hypocritical approach, Flautre emphasized that this incoherent approach was a real threat to the efforts being made in Turkey with regard to democratic reform. Flautre’s strong warning comes amid concerns that Turkey-EU accession talks, which started in 2005, could soon grind to a halt. Eighteen chapters out of 35 have been blocked by France and Greek Cyprus, and only three chapters remained that could be opened after technical preparations. Turkey was able to close only one chapter temporarily while opening 13. The EU, back in December 2006, made a decision by which eight chapters have been suspended because of the additional protocol problem with Greek Cyprus and declared that no chapters would be closed until the issue was sorted out. Another candidate country, Croatia, which started accession talks on the same day as Turkey, is expected to become a member in 2012. Flautre underscored that the situation would not only harm Turkey but the EU as well. “It is also inimical to the long-term interests of the European project,” said the co-chairwoman in her written statement. 

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