European Commission releases progress report on Turkey.

By bne IntelliNews November 10, 2010
On Nov 9, The European Commission adopted the progress report on Turkey, which concludes that Turkey has made progress in meeting EU membership criteria but further results are needed as regards fundamental rights in particular to assure freedom of expression. The reports underlines that journalists repeatedly face prosecutions and convictions, and pressure on the media undermines freedom of the press in practice. Non-Muslim religious communities and the Alevi community continue to face undue constraints while the so-called ,,democratic opening" aimed at addressing the Kurdish issue has produced only limited results, according to the report. The Commission also says that if Turkey proceeds to full implementation of its customs union obligations with the EU and makes progress towards normalisation of relations with Cyprus, it will be able to accelerate the pace of negotiations. EU enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule says that despite overall progress in 2009, the commission is concerned that Turkey's accession process is losing its momentum. The key to changing this is primarily with Turkey, which is expected to fully implement its current contractual relations with the EU - the Customs Union- before it can gear up to full membership of the Union, Fule asserts. Commenting on the progress report, chief negotiator with the EU, Egemen Bagis, says that the 2010 report is the most encouraging and positive report by the Commission so far and there are no surprises in the report.

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