Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rehn issues strong warning over Turkey’s reform efforts

The European Union's top enlargement official warned Ankara over its reform efforts and said it should resolve persistent problems in the areas of freedoms and human rights without delay.

Turkey, which opened accession talks with the EU last October, has been harshly criticized for a wave of legal actions brought against authors, novelists and activists for expressing opinions on some politically sensitive issues.

Turkey's internationally acclaimed novelist Orhan Pamuk is the best-known victim of such actions. He went on trial on Dec. 16 on charges of “insulting Turkishness” for his public remarks on the deaths of Armenians and Kurds in Anatolia.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said he was “seriously concerned” about the cases. “I am very concerned [about] the number of court cases concerning freedom of expression," Rehn said after talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin. “It is important that a serious candidate country brings its laws on freedom of expression in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Read the whole story on Turkish Daily News

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