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TURKEY/KURDS (L-ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN/ANKARA

From: yanni@ix.netcom.com (Ioannis Bousnakis)

DATE=5/25/95

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-179369

TITLE=TURKEY/KURDS (L-ONLY)

BYLINE=AMBERIN ZAMAN

DATELINE=ANKARA

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: LEADERS OF THREE LEFTWING GROUPS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HAVE CONCLUDED A TWO-DAY FACT-FINDING MISSION IN TURKEY. AMBERIN ZAMAN REPORTS FROM ANKARA PROGRESS ON HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES WAS THE MAIN FOCUS OF THEIR MEETINGS WITH TURKISH POLITICAL LEADERS.

TEXT: THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT HAS WARNED TURKEY THAT IT WILL VOTE AGAINST A CRUCIAL FREE TRADE AGREEMENT SIGNED BETWEEN TURKEY AND THE EUROPEAN UNION EARLIER THIS YEAR UNLESS TURKEY MAKES PROGRESS TOWARD RESPECTING HUMAN RIGHTS SOON.

A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT DELEGATION, LED BY SOCIALIST GROUP LEADER PAULINE GREEN, MET WITH TURKISH OFFICIALS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE. THE DELEGATION'S FINDINGS ARE EXPECTED TO PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN SHAPING THE PARLIAMENT'S VIEWS ON TURKEY AHEAD OF THE VOTE ON THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT, WHICH IS SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACE LATER THIS YEAR.

AT A NEWS CONFERENCE IN ANKARA, MRS. GREEN STRESSED THAT TURKEY MUST IMPROVE ITS HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD IF IT IS TO JOIN THE REST OF EUROPE.

                         // GREEN ACT //

WE WANT TO MAKE CLEAR FOR US THE CUSTOMS UNION IS NOT JUST ABOUT ECONOMIC INTEGRATION. IT IS ALSO THE CLOSEST POSSIBLE RELATIONSHIP THAT THE EUROPEAN UNION CAN HAVE WITH ANY COUNTRY SHORT OF FULL MEMBERSHIP IN THE UNION AND THEREFORE, FOR US TO HAVE THAT VERY CLOSE RELATIONSHIP MEANS THAT WE ALSO HAVE TO HAVE CONFIDENCE THAT THE COUNTRIES WITH WHICH WE HAVE THAT RELATIONSHIP HAVE THE SAME FUNDAMENTAL AND DEMOCRATIC VALUES AND HUMAN RIGHTS VALUES AS WE HAVE WITHIN THE EUROPEAN UNION.

                          // END ACT //

MRS. GREEN SAID SHE HAS BEEN ENCOURAGED BY THE FACT THAT A SO- CALLED DEMOCRATIZATION PACKAGE IS NOW BEFORE THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT FOR RATIFICATION. BUT WESTERN DIPLOMATS POINT OUT THAT THERE IS STRONG OPPOSITION TO THE PACKAGE FROM HARDLINERS BOTH WITHIN PRIME MINISTER TANSU CILLER'S CONSERVATIVE TRUE PATH PARTY AND FROM MEMBERS OF RIGHTWING OPPOSITION PARTIES.

THIS MAKES IT UNLIKELY THAT THE PACKAGE WILL BE APPROVED BY THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT IN ITS PRESENT FORM. THE PACKAGE, IF APPROVED, WOULD REVOKE ARTICLE EIGHT OF A CONTROVERSIAL ANTI-TERROR LAW THAT SAYS SPREADING SEPARATIST PROPAGANDA IS ILLEGAL. HUNDREDS OF OF JOURNALISTS, WRITERS, ACADEMICS AND INTELLECTUALS ARE CURRENTLY IN PRISON FOR VIOLATING ARTICLE EIGHT.

THE HARDLINERS MAINTAIN THAT AS LONG AS THE 11-YEAR KURDISH REBELLION, LED BY THE KURDISTAN WORKERS' PARTY, OR P-K-K, CONTINUES IN THE MAINLY KURDISH SOUTHEAST THE COUNTRY CANNOT AFFORD TO LIFT RESTRICTIONS ON INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS.

AGAINST THIS BACKGROUND, WESTERN OBSERVERS SAY, THE CHANCES THAT THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT WILL APPROVE THE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT WITH TURKEY ARE SLIM. YET EUROPEAN GOVERNMENTS DO NOT WANT TO RISK ALIENATING TURKEY -- A STAUNCH NATO ALLY.

A COMPROMISE SOLUTION, WESTERN DIPLOMATS SAY, WOULD BE FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT TO POSTPONE THE VOTE ALLOWING TURKEY MORE TIME TO IMPROVE ITS HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. (SIGNED)

NEB/AZ/SKH/CF

25-May-95 12:26 PM EDT (1626 UTC)

NNNN

Source: Voice of America

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