Re: Europe's Greens meet to debate Turkey's EU access

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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "F A B I O C C H I::" <eco_fabiocchi at>
To: <dirittiglobali at>
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2004 8:59 PM
Subject: Europe's Greens meet to debate Turkey's EU access

> Europe's Greens meet to debate Turkey's EU access
> AFP: 10/19/2004
> ISTANBUL, Oct 19 (AFP) - Europe's Greens, once Turkey's most vocal critics
and now the staunchest supporters of its EU membership, began a three-day
parliamentary group meeting here Tuesday with strong criticism against any
plans to hold national referendums on whether Ankara should join the bloc.
> "We are against holding referendums in one country about another country,"
Greens group president Daniel Cohn-Bendit said. "There are seven million
Turks living in Europe, so the real question in the referendum will be, 'Do
you like Turks -- do you like Muslims?'"
> He singled out President Jacques Chirac, criticising his proposal to amend
the French constitution to allow referendums on future EU members as
"foolish" and "ridiculous."
> "How can a democratic president, even Chirac, say what will happen in 10
years' time?" Cohn-Bendit asked at a press conference here opening the
> "Are they going to have referendums on the memberships of Romania,
Bulgaria, Bosnia? The French will go crazy!" he said. "This is ridiculous.
Don't waste our time with what will happen in 10 years."
> Cohn-Bendit was flanked at the press conference by co-chair Monica
Frassoni of Italy, Dutchman Joost Logendijk and Germany's Cem Oezdemir, both
of the EU-Turkey joint parliamentary committee.
> Cohn-Bendit urged Turkey to accept the fact that it is different from
other candidate countries and that a special negotiating process is needed
to allow it into the EU.
> A generally favorable European Commission report on October 6 advises EU
leaders to agree at a December 17 summit in Brussels to launch membership
talks with Turkey.
> "When you say, 'We want equal treatment,' you do not mean it," Cohn-Bendit
said. "Turkey is not Malta, it is not Romania, it is not Bulgaria. It is a
big country, it is a proud country, and its entry into the EU will be an
important event."
> He said the Greens had arrived in Turkey as "critical friends" in hopes
that many issues that remain to be ironed out -- the situation of the Kurds
and other minorities, women's rights, the Armenian massacres -- could be
"openly discussed among friends."
> "We must have uncomfortable discussions on, for example, Cyprus and the
role of the army," Frassoni said, adding: "The process of building a
European democracy is not finished."
> The Greens support Turkey's EU membership, the Italian MEP said, but so
does Italy's conservative Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi -- "his reasons
are not the same as ours," she added.
> "What is the Greens' message to Turkey?" asked Oezdemir, who is of Turkish
origin. "The message is that we are here and not somewhere else.
> "If Turkey is today at another point than where it was several yuears ago,
it is also because of civil society, not only because of politicians," he
> Another message from the Greens to Turkey's politicians, Logendijk said,
is: "Don't panic."
> He said the Commission report contained elements Turkey and the Greens
both disagree with, such as the open-ended nature of the talks and mention
of permanent derogations concerning this country, such as barring its
citizens from free circulation in Europe.
> "But," he said, "don't lose your focus, don't lose sight of the main
point: (membership) negotiations should begin next year."
> The meeting of the joint Greens/European Free Alliance group next goes
into a series of panel conferences covering aspects of Turkey-EU ties.
> Panelists include foreign ministers Joschka Fischer of Germany and
Abdullah Gul of Turkey, Kurdish activist Leyla Zana and Turkish novelist
Orhan Pamuk.