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EU Summit June 26th
Since 1966 negotiations have been going on between the Republic of Turkey and the European Union.
The process of becoming a member state is conditional and regulated by chapters.

Turkey membership
In December 1997 at the Luxembourg Union Summit the candidacy for a full membership was rejected. As a result, the political dialogue between Turkey and the EU was suspended for a couple of years. In November 2000 the Regional Sub-Committee No.7 met at Brussels and the years after alternating with Ankara.

Last week, June 19th the COREPER (Committee of Permanent Representatives) did meet in order to prepare for next week's, gathering of the EU ministers, on June 24th, to give their final decision on whether to open on Wednesday 26th Chapter 22 on "Regional Policy and Coordination of Structural Instruments".

This Chapter handles the coordination of structural instruments in order to reduce socio-economic disparities between the regions and does not require transposition into national legislation. However, it will require additional administrative and legal arrangements in order to be effective. The IPA (Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance) is a financial aid mechanism describing provisions or investment policies towards candidate countries. Its regulating mechanism is by special funds like the Cohesion-, European Regional Development-, and European Social Fund. The legislative proposals 2014-2020 can be found at the EU website

The Dutch Member of Parliament Dr. Pieter OMTZIGT is married to the Turkish Ayfer KOÇ, city councilor of Enschede. So besides his educational background and parliamentary expertise he has special interest in the position of the Dutch Government towards Turkey and its candidate EU-membership. Yesterday he wrote in the Dutch newspaper The Post Online his comments in an article titled "Lack of Democracy regarding Turkey". However, unlike the title suggest, it is not covering the lack of democracy in Turkey but actually in Holland, as the prognosis is that only hours before the 26th the memo will be handed over by the minister of Foreign Affairs Frans TIMMERMANS, B.Sc to the Dutch Parliament, thus inhibiting any prepared debate on this topic.

The Hürriyet Daily News suggest that the opening of the chapter might be suspended by Germany and the Netherlands. The author Serkan DEMIRTAŞ also contemplates on the possible reaction of the Turkish Government and the damage that might occur to the proceedings. It is thought to be hindered by the recent events originating from the Gezi Park demonstrations and the, as named by the European Union, "disproportionate reactions".

In the Dutch language version Zaman, Turkish representatives give their view on these recent developments. In the English language version of Sunday's Zaman is the yesterday's meeting between German Foreign Minister Guido WESTERWELLE and his Turkish counterpart Ahmet DAVUTOĞLU commented.

It should be noted that in general the global coverage of the recent protest is a strong signal towards the Turkish government that the interests of all (minority) groups can and should not be neglected. Most protesters share the same vision:

The human rights and interests of all individuals,
regardless of their national, cultural or political background,
should be respected by all modern democracies.

Protection of Human Rights
While the foreign ministers were discussing their politics in Doha, 40.000 people in Köln showed their solidarity. It is obvious that a more pro-active position of the Turkish government is preferred. My personal opinion is that the current government made quite some progress in just a decade. But that doesn't mean that it is already enough. There's always room for improvement. For any government.

And it is not just about some anti-government demonstration and the concern is not limited to a Legitimate Internal Affair, which is also recognized by prime-minister Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN as he showed in his special interest in the Yunus affaire. The modern world is a global territory with mutual (economical and military) ties. And that requires adaptation to international or multilateral agreements. And that goes both ways. Europe-Turkey and vice-versa. The 1950 treaty of Rome has been signed by Turkey. It also ratified the UN Convention on Rights of the Child (Çocuk Hakları Sözleşmesi) on April 4th 1995.

That the concern of the International Society is justified and legitimate is given by the fact that also European Citizens should be able to rely on an independent judicial system. On 10.10.2012 the implementation of these rights have been evaluated by the European Council as is stated in the 2012 progress report for Turkey. In September 2012 there were 16.641 applications pending regarding fair trial by Turkey. I was not (yet) one of those listed, untill March 2013. Some conclusions mentioned in the report:

European Citizens
That it is not "just an internal affair" is illustrated by my personal letter "Hukuki yardım talebi" of February 19th 2013 addressed to Sayın Ali ALKAN (Yargitay - Supreme Court), Sayın Sadulah ERGIN (HSYK - High Council of Judges and Prosecuters), Sayın Egemen BAĞIŞ (Ministry of European Affairs) and Sayın Muammer GÜLER (T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı'na - Internal Affairs) , which half-a-year-later still remains unanswered.

I am quite confident that all strong allies of Turkey, including Germany and Holland, are aware of the good intentions of Turkey. They do not want to issue a veto against the start of a new Chapter, as is suggested by the Hürriyet. But it is also obvious that negotiations are not unconditional. Good intentions need to be materialized in effective measures. As I myself, a Dutch citizen and father of a Dutch-Turkish-daughter, is waiting for more than two years for any legal progression, while in the mean time the rights of my daughter and myself are severely violated, the Dutch government can not just accept hollow words.

Starting with answering my aforementioned letter would be a token of good intentions.

Related information:
09.02.2013 weblogKindemishandeling en de Helsinku commissie
23.03.2013 weblogBlijf van onze kinderen af
12.04.2013 weblogBuitenlandse media

EU documents2012 Progress Report for Turkey
EU documentsProposals 2014-2020
wikipediaCommittee of Permanent Representatives
wikipediaFrans Timmermans
wikipediaPieter Omtzigt

21.06.2013 PostOnlineColumn: gebrek aan democratie
20.06.2013 HürriyetAnkara mulls cutting political ties with EU if chapter vetoed
21.06.2013Turkse organisaties in Nederland verdeeld over protesten
22.06.2013 ZamanGerman, Turkish ministers meet

Russia TodayIstanbul park protests
22.06.2013 SpiegelÜberall ist Taksim - Demo in Köln
22.06.2013 TelegraafTurken protesteren
22.06.2013 TagesshauKöln demonstration
22.06.2013 TagesspiegelProteste in Istanbul Erdogan in der Wagenburg

author: Ton   |   published: 23.06.2013   |   updated: 23.06.2013   |   comments: allowed