Turkey locked in EU 'power play'

6th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

6 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — A Dutch MEP has accused Turkey of being locked in a "power play" over its bid to join the European Union.

6 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — A Dutch MEP has accused Turkey of being locked in a  "power play" over its bid to join the European Union.

After a working visit to the Turkish capital Ankara, Dutch Christian Democrat MEP Camiel Eurlings said Turkey is too inflexible towards the European Union and is reluctant to make concessions. "The Turks are pushing and pressuring on all sides," he said.

Eurlings said additional demands should be imposed on Turkey prior to the start of official negotiations over its accession to the EU. He also said Turkey must meet current demands in terms of human rights and religious freedom.

"Turkey can only become a part of Europe if it is as free as the rest of Europe. That is not the case now," he said

Eurlings added that Turkey's "macho behaviour" was creating the danger the Turkish population would become convinced that the EU was placing too many demands on the mainly-Islamic nation. This in turn would lead the Turkish people to rejecting the EU.

Eurlings made his comments after he met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan. He was accompanied by the chairman of the European Parliament's Turkey delegation, Dutch GroenLinks MEP Joost Lagendijk, and the Parliament chairman, Josep Borrel.

Eurlings described the meeting as a "strong conversation" that lasted twice as long as planned. The Dutch MEP said he had insisted more rights be afforded Kurdish people in Turkey.

The Dutch CDA party member is responsible for drafting the European Parliament's advice to EU government leaders, who are due to reach a decision on 17 December about accession talks.

The Netherlands currently holds the EU Presidency and will chair the summit. A Dutch draft document to be discussed at the summit outlines agreement on Turkey's entry to the EU based on strict conditions with no guarantees, AFP reported.

Meanwhile, Dutch State Secretary for European affairs Atzo Nikolai was scheduled to visit Ankara on Tuesday. The visit is part of preparations for the decision on Turkish membership.

Nikolai is to meet with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, members of the Turkish Parliament and representatives of civic organisations, the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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