The section for the
political criteria in the European Union’s (EU) new progress report about Turkey
includes negative statements that had been seen for some time. According to the
report, the steps taken in various critical areas are inadequate; there has
been no progress in some areas. In summary, the report makes the following
No political and
constitutional reform: Mentioning the closure cases against the Justice and
Development Party (AKP) and the Democratic Society Party (DTP), and the
Ergenekon, the report states that the government has not presented a coherent
and detailed program about the political and constitutional reforms, although
it is pleased with Abdullah Gül’s positive performance as president.
Nothing was done when the
military interfered in the politics: The soldiers have been interfering,
officially and unofficially, in the political issues of Cyprus, Southeastern Turkey
secularism and the political problems. There is still no change in the rules
and laws concerning the military and the gendarmerie. There have been no steps
taken towards strengthening the civil control on the military budgets.
Concern about the
independence of the judiciary: The judiciary reform strategy is positive, but
the Ministry of Justice needs to consult the civil society more. The concern
about the independence of judiciary continues.
Corruption is widespread:
There is not much improvement in the fight against corruption. It continues to
be a widespread problem. There is no general strategy against it.
The efforts for the human
rights are inadequate: The structure for the human rights is not independent.
It is a problem that there is no ombudsman. The human rights are under threats.
The efforts for the
prevention of torture are inadequate: There is an increase in torture
complaints. The existing measures are inadequate. It is imperative that the
Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or
Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPTAC) is approved. The investigations
regarding torture complaints fall behind. There are very few investigations
about the prisons. The security forces interfere in the judicial process.
Prisons: The prisons are
overcrowded. The F type circular is not being implemented.
Arbitrary restrictions on
the freedom of assembly: The laws regarding the freedom of assembly are in
conformity, to large extent, with the European standards. But there are
arbitrary restrictions. Investigating allegations regarding unproportional force
and bad treatment by the security forces still require the permission of the
Make party closing harder: There
have been legal improvements in the freedom of association, but the
organizations also face unproportional administrative difficulties and legal
implementations. The restrictions on political parties should be made
compatible with the practices of the European Court of Human Rights and the
Freedom of religion: There
are difficulties in the implementation of the Law regarding the foundations and
the properties of the non-muslims. The Alevite community is still struggling
with problems concerning mandatory religious courses and worship. Turkey needs to
work more for the freedom of religion.
Women’s rights: The laws regarding
equality are mostly in effect. But more efforts are needed in the areas of
employment, health, education and politics. Honor and custom killings are still
a serious problem.
Children: There are
improvements in education, social services and judiciary concerning children,
but still more work is needed in each of these areas and child labor.
Union rights: There are
reports about restrictions regarding organizing, strike and collective
bargaining. Respecting these rights is the number one priority of the European
Union. The mechanisms for social dialog are weak.
legislation about discrimination does not include the sexual discrimination. The
lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and transvestites still face the
charges of the “indecent exposure” and the “acts against public morality.”
Lambdaistanbul, the organization that embraces individuals with sexual
preferences other than heterosexuality, was closed by the Istanbul Governor.
The discrimination against the gays in the military service is still strong.
Transsexuals suffer attacks. The homophobic violence easily turns into sexual
violence. Investigations are needed in these areas.
has not made any progress in securing cultural diversity and strengthening the
respect and the protection for the minorities.
Cultural rights: The
children of non-Turkish languages are unable to learn their mother tongues in
the public schools. With the closing of the Kurdish language courses, it has
become impossible to learn Kurdish. There have been no steps in easing the
access to the public services for the non-Turkish speakers. Languages other
than Turkish are banned in the political life. The Romani people have been
kicked out of their neighborhood in Istanbul
and condemned to bad and unhealthy life conditions. The discrimination against
the Romani people is continuing in the areas of education, social protections,
health and employment.
Eastern and Southeastern
Turkey: The government announced its GAP development plan for the southeastern Turkey. The
attacks by the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) led to the death of many people. The
landmines are still a serious problem. More steps need to be taken for the
rights and freedoms of the Kurdish people. The organization of village guards
should be abolished.
has not taken any steps to normalize the bilateral relations. The efforts to
improve the bilateral relations with Greece continued. The bilateral
relations with the other countries have been positive. (TK/TB)