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EP Socialists slam Turkey over Cyprus
2006-06-21 17:39:46

by Nicos Bellos

Brussels, Jun 21 (CNA) -- Leaders of the Socialist Group in the European Parliament have stressed that Turkey should honour its commitments emanating from the Ankara Protocol which extends the country's customs union with all EU member-states, including Cyprus.

This is a precondition if negotiations are to be continued, they pointed out.

The European socialists called for an acceleration of the reform process in Turkey aimed at possible EU accession.

Socialist Group vice-presidents Jan Marinus Wiersma and Hannes Swoboda were speaking yesterday in Brussels as the European Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee heard from EU Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn, and debated the Eurlings report on Turkey's progress towards EU accession.

''We also call on the Turkish Government to honour the commitments of the Ankara Protocol which extends its customs agreement with all EU member states including Cyprus. This is a precondition if negotiations are to be continued. If not then we will be faced with stalemate,' Swoboda and Wiersma stressed.

They said: ''The progress made to date by the Turkish government should be acknowledged. But recently the pace has slowed and needs to be speeded-up again. We expect clear signs of pro-European policies from the Turkish government.''

They noted that ''we are particularly concerned at developments in south-east Turkey. The recent violence there has to be condemned unequivocally. We call on all parties to pursue peaceful solutions only.''

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