Judicial bill should conform to EU political criteria, European Commissioner tells EU minister
The European Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle has expressed the EU's expectations that the new judicial bill prepared by Ankara should be consistent with the EU legislation during a meeting with Turkish EU Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Strasbourg on Jan. 14 Hurriyet Daily News reproted.
"Commissioner Füle expressed the expectation that any change to the judicial system must not call into question Turkey's commitment as regards the Copenhagen political criteria," a statement from Füle's office said, describing the first meeting of the two officials as "open" and "constructive."
The statement said the recent controversy over the judiciary should not endanger the newly recovered momentum in the Turkish-EU relations with the opening of the first chapter after two-and-a-half years.
"It is precisely because of the importance of our relations that we openly discussed our concerns as regards the independence and impartiality of the judiciary," Füle told Cavusoglu during the meeting according to the statement, while the latter informed Füle about recent developments in Turkey.
Call for addressing graft claims
Füle also urged Cavusoglu in addressing the corruption allegations "without discrimination or preference in a transparent and impartial manner."
The government has repeatedly accused groups inside the state orchestrating the graft probes in an attempt to damage the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The statement also said the provisions in the much-debated draft judiciary bill would be reviewed by the European Commission, which will share its view before a vote at the Turkish Parliament.
Also on Jan. 14, Cavusoglu met Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
Soon after taking over from Egemen Bagıs, who was among the prominent ministerial graft probe casualties, Cavusoglu had maintained his predecessor's strong tone urging the EU to refrain from "unilateral and impatient statements through the media."
Cavusoglu is also expected to meet President Abdullah Gul and cover his meetings in Strasbourg.