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EU warns Turkey of serious problems, if no Cyprus settlement reached
2003-11-05 16:57:12

by Nicos Bellos

Brussels, Nov 5 (CNA) -- The European Commission has warned Ankara that the absence of a political settlement in Cyprus could spell out serious trouble in Turkey's EU aspirations.

In a report on Turkey's progress in meeting the membership criteria, the Commission said it considers that ''Turkey does not yet fully meet the Copenhagen political criteria'' and expressed concern at Turkey's failure to execute many judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

The report, entitled Strategy Paper and Report of the EU Commission on the progress towards accession by Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey, noted that Turkey's alignment with the acquis has progressed in most areas but remains at an early stage for many chapters.

''The Commission recalls that efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem form part of the enhanced dialogue between the European Union and Turkey,'' the report said.

It reiterated the Council's view that Turkey, together with all parties concerned, ''has a decisive interest in providing determined support for efforts towards a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.''

''The Commission considers that there are favourable conditions for the two communities to reach a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem between Cyprus' accession to the EU on 1 May 2004,'' it added.

''The absence of a settlement could become a serious obstacle to Turkey's EU aspirations,'' it warned.

The report recalled the EU Council conclusions in Copenhagen and Thessaloniki, it noted that Turkey has taken important steps to ensure effective implementation of the political criteria.

''A clear framework for guaranteeing political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights is not fully established, and more efforts are needed to enhance the coherence of legal provisions and practice,'' the report said.

The Commission recommended that particular attention is paid to the exercise of fundamental freedoms, ''further alignment of civil-military relations with European practice and the situation in the South east.''

It called on Turkey to strengthen the implementation of reforms and noted that responsibility for enforcing reformed legislation related to fundamental freedoms, respect of European Court judgments lies largely with the judges and prosecutors.

''It is of great concern that Turkey has not executed many judgments of the European Court of Human Rights by means of ensuring payment of just satisfaction or reversing decisions made in contravention of the Court.''

With regard to Turkey's alignment with the acquis, the Commission said that further legislative work is required in all areas and Turkey should focus on implementing its National Programme for the adoption of the acquis.

''In many fields implementation is weak,'' it said, adding however that alignment has progressed in most areas.

It said that Cyprus, peaceful settlement of disputes and human rights are issues discussed between the EU and Turkey as part of the enhanced political dialogue.|

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