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EU welcomes endorsement of package by court July 26, 2010

Posted by Yilan in EU.
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Jerzy Buzek, Miguel Moratinos, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Helene Flautre,  Martin Schulz (from left to right)

Jerzy Buzek, Miguel Moratinos, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Helene Flautre, Martin Schulz (from left to right)

The European Union, which has from the very beginning lent its support to a government-sponsored constitutional reform package in Turkey, has welcomed the decision of the country’s Constitutional Court, which only annulled several minor articles. In a written statement the EU Commission said it still believes the package is a positive step in the right direction.

The spokeswoman of the commissioner for enlargement and European neighbourhood policy, Angela Filote, said they have taken note of the court’s ruling and will further analyze it in more detail, particularly following the publication of the court’s reasoned opinion. Stating that their preliminary assessment showed the ruling concerned itself with only a limited number of elements of the reform package, such as the method of electing members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), Filote said: “Following this ruling, we continue to believe that this reform package, which will be submitted to a referendum on Sept. 12, is a positive step in the right direction as it addresses a number of longstanding shortcomings which the EU has identified over the years in the Progress Reports and the Accession partnerships.”

After dubbing the package “positive,” the EU once more called for broad-based support from civil society and political parties alike, Filote said. “However, because these reforms are so important for Turkey’s future, it remains important that they command the broadest possible support from its citizens and its civil society as well as the widest possible spectrum of political parties,” she said.

In addition to the EU Commission, European Parliament (EP) President Jerzy Buzek, former EU term president Spain’s Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, EP rapporteur for Turkey Ria Oomen-Ruijten, EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Chairwoman Helene Flautre and the leader of the Socialists in the EP, Martin Schulz, all voiced their support for the package.

In a written statement after the Constitutional Court decision of partly annulling the package, Flautre said the verdict was “a wise half-way solution” that alleviated current tensions while proving that a new constitution was needed. “This limited reform is a progress in itself paving the way towards the democratization of the country but does not change the antidemocratic spirit of the constitution from 1982. What Turkey needs first and foremost is a new democratic constitution in order to speed-up the EU accession process. I am asking all political parties to put the project of a new constitution on the agenda right after the next parliamentary elections” said Flautre.

The full text of Filote’s statement is as follows:

“The Commission takes note of the ruling of the Constitutional Court, which we will need to analyze in more detail, in particular following the publication of the reasoned opinion of the court.

“Following our first assessment, our understanding is that the ruling concerns only a limited number of elements of the reform package, such as the method of election of the members of the Constitutional Court and of the HSYK.

“Following this ruling, we continue to believe that this reform package, which will be submitted to a referendum on Sept. 12, is a positive step in the right direction as it addresses a number of longstanding shortcomings which the EU has identified over the years in the Progress Reports and the Accession partnerships.

“However, because these reforms are so important for Turkey’s future, it remains important that they command the broadest possible support from its citizens and its civil society as well as the widest possible spectrum of political parties.”

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