EU's 2013 progress report on Turkey criticized

Photo: EU's 2013 progress report on Turkey criticized / Turkey

Turkey's EU minister has criticized the European Parliament's 2013 progress report on Turkey for ignoring the reforms introduced by the government throughout the year Anadolu Agency reported.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, who is also the country's chief negotiator in its bid to join the European Union, said the Turkish government always pays attention to the yearly progress reports filed by the EU as long as they are objective and just.

"It is encouraging to see that the European Parliament reiterates its support, just like the previous year, to Turkey's accession process," he said.

Despite this, Cavusoglu criticized the report for not including the government's reforms concerning the judiciary and human rights.

"The recently introduced '5th Judicial Reform Package,' which abolished specially authorized courts and enhanced rights and freedoms, is not mentioned in the report," he said.

Cavusoglu also said the extensive 'democratization package,' announced last September by the government, is not sufficiently mentioned in the report.

He reiterated that the package lowered the election vote threshold on parties receiving state aid to 3 percent from 7 percent and brought the freedom of using languages and dialects other than Turkish for political propaganda.

"Aside from these, the report's criticisms against recent amendments on the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors and Internet regulation, which have strong parallels with laws in many EU countries, are a clear-cut example of the prejudiced approach towards Turkey," Cavusoglu said.

Turkey's chief negotiator also reaffirmed Turkey's determination to pursue more democratic reforms in the future.

The European Parliament approved the 2013 progress report for Turkey amid debates over recent developments in the country's judiciary and politics.

The report warns against a polarization in the country's political climate and a lack of a spirit of compromise.

It also criticizes the government for tending to rely exclusively on its parliamentary majority to pass laws and decisions noting the excessive use of force by the police in handling the wave of anti-government protests which erupted last summer.

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